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Accident victims call for compulsory insurance for electric scooter riders in Spain

By April 21, 2023May 9th, 2023No Comments

The increase in accidents in Spain and the referendum in Paris that voted against electric scooters for hire calls into question this mode of transport that is becoming increasingly fashionable in Spain’s major cities.

According to Spain’s traffic authority, the DGT, Personal Mobility Vehicles (or PMVs, including electric scooters) are vehicles with one or more wheels, equipped with a single seat or platform and powered exclusively by electric motors, with a maximum design speed of between six and 25 km/h.

Some common rules are that PMVs are prohibited on pavements, pedestrian areas, crossings, motorways, dual carriageways, interurban roads or tunnels in urban areas. Authorised roads will be indicated in a municipal law, but if there is no rule, they would be allowed to circulate on any urban roadway. Their speed should be between six and 25 km/h. In addition, the DGT recognises that each local council has its own rules and it is up to the councils themselves to decide how to act to regulate the use of the scooters.

In view of this situation, Spain’s national association of lawyers for accident and civil liability (ANAVA-RC ) has called for compulsory insurance for electric scooters.

According to Manuel Castellanos, president of ANAVA-RC, “the rules are not being complied with and accidents are on the increase, adding to all this the confusion generated by the disparity of rules regulating the use of these personal mobility vehicles”.

Castellanos also criticised the disparity of laws regulating the use of these vehicles which leads to situations such as “when moving from one municipality to another on a scooter, it can be the case that in one, for example, the use of a helmet is compulsory, and in another it is not”.

Castellanos explains that at present, a scooter user who causes an accident with victims while under the influence of alcohol or drugs cannot be convicted of a traffic safety offence. There have been 25 fatalities involving the scooters in the past two years.

Private individuals are not obliged to insure PMVs and it is up to the users to have liability and third party damage insurance. In the case of rental scooters, if a company offers the user the possibility of having insurance, it is most likely that they are unaware of the guarantees it covers, so there is great legal uncertainty in this respect “and what is more serious, the user thinks that they are covered by unlimited civil liability insurance, which is not true,” Castellanos said.