Introductory Statement from Anne Graham, Chief Executive Officer, National Transport Authority
Chairperson and members of the committee, thank you for the invitation to attend. I understand that the Committee wishes to focus upon the Road Traffic (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill and in particular the potential legislative provision for the use of e-scooters. To assist me in dealing with your subsequent questions I am joined by Hugh Creegan, Deputy CEO with the Authority.
The Authority recognises that e-scooters and e-bikes can contribute to the increased use of sustainable transport and an alternative to the private car mode. However, these new forms of transport do give rise to new issues that require careful consideration in developing an appropriate legislative framework.
Some of the issues that are relevant to those considerations include:
- The quality of road surfaces, given the small wheel diameter of e-scooters and the more significant implications of road surface defects for e-scooters than other vehicles;
- Minimum age requirements for use of e-scooters on public roads;
- Whether certain safety equipment such as helmets should be mandatory or discretionary;
- The speed limitations that should apply to such vehicles;
- Whether e-scooters should be required to use cycle tracks instead of the main carriageway where such cycle tracks are provided; and
- The types of roads and specific traffic lanes that e-scooters should be permitted to use.
Many of these issues involve balancing competing demands and seeking to achieve the optimal equilibrium in respect of those demands. This is particularly so when road space is constrained and perfect solutions such as separate facilities for e-scooters are simply not feasible. However, in carefully addressing the relevant considerations an appropriate legislative framework can be put in place to support the operation of this new form of micro-mobility.
That concludes my introductory statement. I trust that I can answer any queries that arise.