Picture: Luke Tanis via Unsplash

Malta becomes first European country to ban rental e-scooters

Malta has announced that it will ban the use of rental e-scooters from March 2024 in what local media is calling a surprise move.

The decision makes Malta the first European country to completely ban rental e-scooters.

It has been taken to remove the shared mobility platforms because of the inconvenience to communities.

Following in the steps of Paris who announced a similar ban this year, Malta will still allow private e-scooters and incentives to encourage people to buy their own will be introduced.

In a statement released earlier this week, the Transport Ministry said: “This initiative aims to promote responsible e-kick scooter usage and reduce inconvenience for communities and people.

“Despite increased enforcement and fines, communities have continued to endure the disturbances caused by rented e-kick scooters.”

Aaron Farrugia, Malta’s Transport Minister, doubled down on this stance at a media event saying that “even doubling the number of enforcement officers overnight would not have solved the issue”.

Pedestrians in the coastal regions of Sliema and St Julians had been particularly impacted by e-scooters due to their popularity with tourists in the area.

This resulted in complaints of poor parking and blocking pavements and access to homes.

The Government had initially considered introducing designated parking areas to address some of the issues but has opted on an outright ban instead.

Bolt and Bird are the two companies who operate a scheme in Malta with an estimated 5,000 e-scooters expected to be removed when this legislation comes into place.

Read more: Urban Arrow partners with Comodule to prevent e-cargo bike theft

Bolt had introduced measures to encourage safer use of its e-scooters in June with riders getting their behaviour evaluated.

By using in-app features and sensors Bolt could identify behaviours such as dangerous riding and illegal riding with persistent offenders being banned by the provider.

With this week’s announcement, this measure had clearly not had a significant enough impact to impact the Transport Ministry’s concerns.

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