The Polish Government has announced new draft regulations for users of e-scooters and other ‘personal transport devices’, on public roads and footpaths, which are due to be signed into law.
Love or hate them, e-scooters, have become very much a part of city life.
For some, a fun and convenient, eco-friendly mode of transport, for others a blight on the city landscape, a danger to pedestrians, the riders themselves and other road users.
Are we about to see some order brought to the previously unregulated, chaotic and occasionally reckless, inconsiderate and dangerous use of e-scooters?
The Minister of Infrastructure (Ministerstwo Infrastruktury) announced that the Council of Ministers (Rada Ministrów) have adopted a draft amendment to the Road Traffic Act.
Until now, the legal status of electric scooters and personal transport devices has remained unregulated. This created a real safety risk on roads and sidewalks. That is why we have prepared solutions that will increase safety, in particular of the least protected road users , said Minister of Infrastructure Andrzej Adamczyk.
The draft amendment regulates the legal status and use of electrically powered devices and physically ‘muscle’ powered devices intended to be driven on public roads, referred to in the regulations as urządzeń transportu osobistego (UTO), such as e-scooters, segway’s, electric skateboards and balance boards etc, commonly known as mobility devices.
What stage are the regulations at?
The second reading of the draft amendment to the act took place in the Sejm last week. The draft of the new regulations was submitted for further work in the Parliament’s Infrastructure Committee.
The new regulations will enter into force 30 days after being published in the Journal of Laws.
The amendment introduces new obligations on riders, including:
- A speed limit of 20 km/h
- Riders are required to use bicycle lanes where available, if such lanes are not available, they:
- May use roads, however if the road has a speed limit greater than 30km/h, they should ride on the footpath.
- Pedestrians have priority over e-scooter or UTO riders moving on a part of the infrastructure intended for pedestrian traffic.
- Riders will be obliged to give way to pedestrians and not to obstruct their passage.
- Riders should limit their speed on footpaths to walking pace (approx 5km/h)
The amended regulations prohibit:
- Riding the e-scooter on a public road by a child under 10 years of age is prohibited in any situation, including whilst under the supervision of an adult.
- Children up to 10 years of age will be able to ride the electric scooter only in a residential area, under the supervision of an adult.
- Riders from 10 to 18 years of age, will be required to have the same qualifications as for cycling, i.e. a bicycle card or driving license of categories AM, A1, B1 or T.
- Riding an e-scooter on a road with a speed limit greater than 30km/h,
- Riding an e-scooter or a personal transport device (UTO) whilst under the influence of alcohol or a substance similar to alcohol.
- Transporting other people, animals and objects with an e-scooter or personal transport device,
- Pulling or towing other vehicles with an e-scooter or personal transport device.
- Using a telephone whilst riding.
The draft act introduces the obligation to leave or park an e-scooter on the footpath in a designated place (designated by the road administrator).
Operators have to designate specific places for parking scooters. If there is no such zone, users may leave it on the pavement only under the following conditions:
- The e-scooter or UTO will be positioned as close as possible to the outer edge of the pavement, the farthest from the road,
- The e-scooter will be placed parallel to the edge of the pavement,
- The width of the pavement left for pedestrian traffic is such that it will not hinder their traffic and is not less than 1.5 m.
Removal & Storage Fees
The amendment also indicates the amount of fees which can be imposed for removing an e-scooter or a personal transport device from the road.
These devices can be removed from the road at the owner’s expense, such as in case where they have been left in a place where it is forbidden and obstructs movement or otherwise threatens safety. The order to remove the vehicle from the road may be issued by the Police or city guard.
A parking ticket (100zł) may be issued, and in the case of removal of the e-scooter or device removal fees (118zł for removal plus 22zł per day storage) will be imposed.
New regulations = new obligations – Fines (Mandats)
The draft provides for penalties for the rider of an e-scooter or a personal transport device.
- A fine of 200zł is provided for using the phone while driving, requiring the driver to hold the handset or microphone in the hand.
- Transporting another person, animal or cargo will be punishable by a fine of 100zł.
- For driving on a public road, in a residential area or in a zone where a vehicle other than a motor vehicle is in motion by a person under the influence of alcohol or a similar substance, the fine will be from 300 to 500zł.
- Violation of the conditions of stopping or parking the vehicle on the pavement will result in a fine of 100zł.
- A fine of 350zł is provided for the driver failing to give way to a pedestrian on the crossing.
In addition, authorities may impose a penalty for the infringement committed, including on the rider of an e-scooter or a personal transport device or a person moving with the use of a traffic assist device, which violates other provisions of the Act – Road Traffic Law or provisions.
The draft law defines an electric scooter as an electrically powered, two-axle vehicle with a steering wheel, without a seat and pedals, structurally intended to be driven only by a rider on that vehicle.
The driver of an electric scooter is obliged to use a bicycle lane or a bicycle lane if they are designated for the direction in which he is moving or intends to turn – with a speed limit of 20 km/h. In addition, he is obliged to use the road on which vehicle traffic is allowed at a speed of not more than 30 km/h, if there is no separate road for bicycles and a lane for bicycles – with the permissible speed of 20 km/h. The driver may exceptionally move along a pavement or a pedestrian road when the pavement is located along a road where traffic is allowed at speeds greater than 30 km/h and there is no dedicated cycle path and a cycle lane – with the following rules: driving with speed close to the speed of a pedestrian, special care
Personal transport devices – UTO
A personal transport device is an electrically powered vehicle, without a seat and pedals, designed to be moved only by the rider on that vehicle (e.g. electric skateboard, electric self-leveling device).
The driver of a personal transport device is obliged to use a cycle path, if it is designated for the direction in which it is moving or intends to turn – with a speed limit of 20 km/h. It may exceptionally move along a sidewalk or a pedestrian road, in the absence of a cycle path, with the following rules: driving at a speed close to the speed of a pedestrian, special caution, giving way to pedestrians and not obstructing pedestrian traffic.
Moving the personal transport device on public roads by a child under 10 years of age is forbidden in any situation, also under the supervision of an adult. Children up to 10 years of age will be able to use the personal transport device only in the residential area under the supervision of an adult.
To drive a personal transport device by people aged 10 to 18, it will be required to have the same qualifications as in the case of cycling, i.e. a bicycle card or driving license of category AM, A1, B1 or T. For people over 18 years of age such document is not required.
A device or sports and recreational equipment designed to move in a standing position, powered by muscles (e.g. roller skates, roller skates, skateboard). A person using this type of device will be able to move on the road for bicycles (without speed limit) or on the sidewalk and pedestrian way, with the following rules: driving at a speed close to the speed of a pedestrian, taking special care, giving way to pedestrians and not obstructing traffic pedestrian.
Moving a device supporting movement powered by muscles does not require any permission and is allowed without age restrictions.
Detailed technical parameters of electric scooters and personal transport devices will be regulated in the provisions of the Regulation of the Minister of Infrastructure on the technical conditions of vehicles and the scope of their necessary equipment.
The provisions on the new technical conditions will apply only to electric scooters and personal transport devices placed on the market after December 31, 2021.
In addition, the draft law contains a provision allowing for driving around electric scooters and personal transport devices that do not meet the new technical conditions, if these vehicles have been placed on the market before 1 January 2022
David fell in love with Kraków 24 years ago, making it his home in 2011.
In 2020 he was awarded the title of Kraków’s Ambassador of Multiculturalism, by the President of Kraków, and is also a member of the GlobalScot network, representing Scottish culture and business abroad.
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