Bulgaria adopts regulations for the use of e-scooters
Municipalities will determine for themselves the number and parking spaces of shared electric vehicles
- January 24, 2020 18:30
- Plamen Petrov
The Bulgarian Parliament adopted at first reading yesterday amendments to the Road Traffic Act, which for the first time set rules for the use of electric scooters in the country. In fact, the two-wheeled e-vehicles are equated to bicycles, with similar requirements and bans, reports Dnevnik.
The law empowers municipalities to introduce rules of their own, for example, to determine the number of shared e-scooters in their territory and designate appropriate parking spaces.
Before being considered in parliament, the regulations on the use of e-scooters were subjected to public discussions. As a result, the most controversial texts, which stipulated that all riders wear helmets (e-scooter sharing companies were opposed to this), as well as reflective vests, were dropped. The helmet will only be mandatory for those under 18, and reflective elements attached to clothing will be sufficient when riding in the dark.
The reasonable but difficult to control proposal of the Bulgarian Electromobility Association, which insisted on prohibiting the use of headphones covering both ears by not only drivers of e-scooters, but also cyclists and motorists, was not accepted.
E-scooters’ movement banned on sidewalks, streets and bus lanes
According to the amendments, individual electric vehicles, as e-scooters are called in the law, can move on the roads if they are equipped with brakes, bell, headlamp, stop and reflective elements on the side of the wheels (the latter has caused confusion among users).
It is forbidden to use e-scooters on sidewalks, class I and II streets unless there are bicycle lanes there and roads with a maximum permitted speed of more than 50 km / h. Their movement is also banned in bus lanes or in areas where the entry of bicycles is prohibited by a sign.
Drivers are not allowed to run at speeds exceeding 25 km / h, drive someone, tow a load or be towed. The minimum age for driving an electric scooter is 14 years, if the vehicle is used only on bicycle lanes, and 16 years if it is ridden outside of them.
E-scooters take over the big cities
According to unofficial data, there are about 60,000 electrical scooters in Bulgaria now, and projections are that they will be increasingly penetrating major cities. Three main providers of shared vehicles operate in Sofia, incl. Lime, the world leader in these services.
Sofia Municipality government has set up more than 200 free parking spaces for bicycles, mopeds and e-scooters in downtown Sofia as part of its strategy to improve air quality.
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