Rome curbs rental electric scooter use

Following the complete shutdown of electric rental scooters in Paris this September, another European capital is taking action. Rome won’t entirely kick the little machines off the streets but significantly cut their numbers from 14,500 to 9,000.

This reduction is a result of new regulations that came into effect in the Italian capital on 1 September, which also reduced the number of rental companies from nine to three. The remaining three providers, Bird, Dott, and Lime, are each permitted to operate 3,000 electric scooters in Rome.

Under the three-year concession, each rental scooter must have a registration plate and a QR code for identification. Users must also register an identity card showing they are 18 years or older.

The top speed limit is reduced to 20 km/h (down from 25 km/h) and just six kph in pedestrian areas.

The city says it will also clamp down on “wild parking”, so the formerly free-floating machines must be returned to designated parking zones near public transport stations.

At the same time, Metrobus seasonal ticket holders can rent the scooters at a reduced fee.

Rome taking a more measured approach to e-scooters is in contrast to Paris. The French capital reportedly banned all rental “trottinettes” for good this month, despite earlier attempts to control their use.

London, on the other hand, allowed only restricted rollout and required the little machines to have designated parking spots, like a bike scheme, from the start. Other restrictions making e-scooters more compatible with city life include speed limits such as above and anti-cluttering measures like taking a picture when leaving the micro LEV.

While private use remains unrestricted, it is unclear whether it is safer. Recent cases in Barcelona and the British capital document e-scooter batteries catching fire – these are usually privately owned and cheaply made. Following the incidents, London, Barcelona and Hamburg no longer permit electric kick scooters on public transport.


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