New regulation in force: Oslo slows down e-scooters

Status: 10.09.2021 1:32 p.m.

The success of the e-scooter has become a problem for Norway’s capital. As a result, a new ordinance will apply in Oslo from today. It limits the number of electric scooters and prohibits night driving.

By Linnea Pirntke and Sofie Donges, ARD-Studio Stockholm

Oslo claims to be the city with the most e-scooters. A few weeks ago Sirin Stav, responsible for the environment and transport, said: “We are now experiencing an intolerable situation in our city with almost 25,000 e-scooters. This puts us well above the European maximums. It was time to tackle the problem and now we’ve finally got permission to regulate it locally. “

Overcrowded emergency rooms

A new regulation has been created and it comes into force today. The number of e-scooters is radically reduced, Oslo only allows 8000 scooters in the city center. But that’s not the only new rule: there is also a night driving ban between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. Fewer scooters, fewer accidents with drunk drivers – that is the goal.

In July, Oslo’s emergency rooms reported more than 400 e-scooter injuries, twice as many as a year ago. It is noteworthy that almost half of the accidents happened between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. Most of the drivers were drunk. This summer, additional staff had to be deployed in the hospitals in order to be able to treat the many injuries suffered by e-scooter drivers. Wild parking on sidewalks, breakneck tours of several on one scooter, sharp increase in the number of accidents: the complaints sound similar everywhere. That is why it was decided to protect the residents from the dangers instead of taking the companies into consideration, according to the social democratic city councilor Andreas Halse.

Providers are disappointed

The companies have taken the new regulation to court, calling it suffocating. The court wants to announce its decision today.

Not everyone agrees with the new rules. Christina Moi Gjerde from e-scooter rental Voi accuses Oslo of bad political management on Norwegian television NRK: “The proposal means the end of the range of micromobility in Oslo. It’s a shame.”

In Oslo, however, there was no other way out. The problem from the start was that e-scooters were legally equated with bicycles and that there was no regulation whatsoever. And there could soon be stricter rules across the country for providers: Norway’s Transport Minister Knut Arild Hareide has promised new guidelines at national level as well. At the same time, some providers across Scandinavia are trying to improve the security of their customers themselves. One wants to win back the trust of the people and politics, said a spokesman for a rental company recently. The ideas range from reduced speed at night to a voluntary curfew during which the e-scooters cannot be started.

Copenhagen and Stockholm are also taking hold

In other Scandinavian countries, too, more vigorous action is being taken against the scooters. E-scooters have been allowed to drive through downtown Copenhagen since the beginning of the year, but they can no longer be parked or rented there. Almost all scooters have now disappeared from the Danish capital. The Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet recently wrote that Copenhagen is now a classic bicycle city again.

In Stockholm, too, the number of e-scooters on the streets has literally exploded: three years ago there were fewer than 500, today there are 22,000. Sweden’s capital also issued new regulations three weeks ago. In the future, every e-scooter company there will need a permit from the police and will have to pay a fee of 140 euros per year and vehicle. This is to prevent the sidewalks from being randomly clogged with e-scooters.

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