Italy hands out its first €1,000 electric scooter fines

Two e-scooter users in Turin have been handed fines of more than €1,000, the first penalties in Italy relating to the divisive means of transport.

Italy hands out its first €1,000 electric scooter fines
Stock photos: AFP

A 25-year-old man riding around the Piedmont capital on an electric scooter on Monday was stopped by municipal police and given three fines which added up to €1,079. 

Within a matter of hours, another e-scooter user had been ordered to pay the same amount in fines.

According to numerous Italian news sources, these are the first fines handed to electric scooter users in Italy.

“We have received so many requests for intervention from citizens who are concerned about the dangers of e-scooters,” Turin police chief Emiliano Bezzon said in response to the news.

Although the laws on e-scooter remain unclear for most Italians, a decree was passed by the Italian government on July 27 which gives individual municipalities the power to decide on their own set of rules for micro-mobility vehicles (including segways, hoverboards etc) during a trial period.

In Turin, police were handed a brief by city authorities on October 12 urging them to treat electric scooters like any other vehicle equipped with an engine that’s capable of reaching speeds above 6km/h.

The two e-scooter riders were therefore apprehended for riding without a license plate, vehicle registration and insurance, all violations of articles 97 and 103 of Italy’s Highway Code, which accounted for the €154, €76 and €849 fines.

“In theory, electric scooters cannot travel along bike lanes, they have to circulate on the road,” Turin police chief Emiliano Bezzon added, in reference to the fact that both of the fined e-scooter riders were apprehended whilst riding on cycle paths.

“Those who violate this rule can be fined.

“They say I’m against electric scooters, but I have only expressed my doubts about the safety of those who use them and others.

“Not to mention that most riders don’t wear a helmet, for the time being we’re turning a blind eye to this.”

Milan, Rimini, Cattolica, Pesaro and Verona are some of the other Italian cities that have signed up for this trial period of municipal laws for electric scooters, most of which include a perimeter where micro-mobility vehicles can and cannot be ridden.

Even though many Italian pedestrians are likely to be in favour of clamping down on this unregulated and potentially hazardous means of transport, there are people who are against these municipal experimentation powers.

Critics point out that Italy’s Highway Code hasn’t been updated in 27 years and that there should therefore be nationwide ad-hoc rules implemented before town halls are allowed to dish out fines as they see fit.

Irrespective of this, Italy’s period of experimentation vis-à-vis micro-mobility will potentially give way to a more comprehensive transport decree that clearly sets out what the rules are for electric scooter usage across the country.

Until then, the rules may be a bit confusing and should be judged on a city-to-city basis.

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