Electric scooters have been gaining popularity for some time now, and in recent months accidents involving electric bicycles and scooters have significantly increased, some even resulting in fatalities. Fréttablaðið reports that the Ministry of Infrastructure’s working group on small vehicles is proposing a bill which calls for punishment for driving under the influence, a minimum driving age of 13 years, the obligation to wear a helmet, and that small vehicles be added to traffic education in primary and secondary schools.
The working group’s draft reports that most accidents occur late on Fridays and Saturdays. Among the injured many were intoxicated at the time of the incidents. The Icelandic Transport Authority conducted a study in 2021, which found that most people who used electric bicycles in the last 6 months were between the ages of 18-24, and that 40% of them were under the influence of alcohol.
A substantial number of accidents involve children, according to a study by Landspítali’s Emergency Department, children as young as 8 years old often use these bicycles or scooters. According to the manufacturer’s instructions, they are only really intended to be used by people above the age of 13.
Another issue is that it is too easy to change the speed settings, allowing for electric bicycles to reach speeds of up to 70 kilometers per hour, which is around 3 times the speed they are built for. This would also be addressed by the proposed bill, as they intend to cap the maximum speed at 25 kilometers per hour. Maximum power will be 1,000 watts.
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