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Illustration: News about Personal Light Electric Vehicles

Source: BMVI/Twitter

Today (17 May 2019), the Bundesrat adopted the “Regulations on the Use of Personal Light Electric Vehicles on Public Roads and amending other Road Traffic Legislation” of the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure with certain additional requirements.

Federal Minister Andreas Scheuer said:

Drivers of electric scooters can rejoice: Even before the summer recess, they can get started! With our Regulations on Personal Light Electric Vehicles, we are paving the way for the mobility of the future, while at the same time ensuring maximum road safety. We have been able to quickly reach an agreement that every road user will benefit from.

We want new ways of modern, environmentally friendly and clean mobility in our cities. Micro mobility has great future potential. Together with local public transport, it will provide a real additional alternative to the car. Micro mobility is ideal for the last mile from the underground, rapid transit or bus stop to your home or work.

What is the objective?

  • The objective is to ensure road safety while enabling new forms of urban mobility.

Why do we need national regulations on Personal Light Electric Vehicles?

  • At the European level, the new Type Approval Regulation (EU) No 168/2013 for two- or three-wheel vehicles and quadricycles has applied since January 2016. Self-balancing vehicles and vehicles without a seat are explicitly excluded from the scope of application of this regulation.
  • To date, only specific self-balancing mobility aids, for example Segways, can be legally operated on public roads in Germany in accordance with the Mobility Aid Regulations.
  • Therefore, the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure has created draft regulations on Personal Light Electric Vehicles to enable the use of Personal Light Electric Vehicles in public road transport, no matter what the vehicle type is.

What are the key elements of the upcoming regulations?

  • In the future, the same rules of the road that already apply to bicycles are to apply to Personal Light Electric Vehicles with a handlebar.
  • It is envisaged that all Personal Light Electric Vehicles with the following features will be able to use the roads:

    • with a handlebar
    • maximum design speed between 6 kph and 20 kph
    • power limitation at 500 W (1,400 W for specific self-balancing vehicles)
    • minimum requirements concerning road safety rules (brake and lighting systems, dynamics of vehicle movements and electric safety, among other things)
  • The minimum age for their use will be 14 years.
  • Personal Light Electric Vehicles are to be used on physically separated cycle tracks and advisory cycle lanes; use of carriageways will be allowed only where such tracks or lanes do not exist.
  • Wearing a helmet will be recommended.
  • A test certificate for motor-assisted bicycles will not be required.
  • Insurance will be required (insurance sticker).

Can Personal Light Electric Vehicles be carried on public transport?

  • The Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure supports the carriage of Personal Light Electric Vehicles on public transport, however it cannot make it obligatory. The respective transport operator will decide on its conditions of carriage.

Next steps:

  • The Cabinet will address the Regulations and the corresponding requirements adopted by the Bundesrat.
  • Subsequently, the Regulations will be published in the Federal Law Gazette and thus presumably enter into force in June 2019.