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Electric scooter companies call for scooter limits in Helsinki

Scooter companies point to successful models in other European cities.

Läjä huonosti pysäköityjä sähköpotkulautoja.
According to the companies, the city currently has very limited means to regulate the activities of electric scooters. Image: Matti Myller / Yle
Yle News

Electric scooter rental firms Tier, Voi, Lime, Bird and Dott want legislation to tackle the scooter chaos in central Helsinki.

Electric scooters left in the middle of pedestrian walkways have been a major inconvenience during the summer. This is especially true for visually impaired individuals, for whom the scooters make the urban environment considerably more difficult to navigate.

The Helsinki University hospital district (HUS) recently reported that accidents involving electric scooters in Helsinki cost more than 1.7 million euros last year.

Licensing models used in other major European cities would limit the number of scooters and operators, according to the scooter companies. In turn, this would help to establish clear parking policies and safety rules.

"The cities have first determined how many shared electric scooters they would like to have in the area. A public tender would then be organised, in which the city determines the criteria it will use to select the service providers," the companies said in a joint press release.

According to the companies, this model has been used in Oslo, Copenhagen, London and Paris.

Voluntary agreements not sufficient

Electric scooter companies have previously called for more regulation from the authorities. The congested market has brought serious problems and undermined the reputation of top firms in the industry.

Tier, Voi, Lime, Bird and Dott claimed that more than 11.7 million trips had been taken on their scooters last year, amounting to a combined 24 million kilometres.

"The current voluntary agreements are simply not enough in the long run. Without a change in the law, there is really no way to enforce compliance," the companies argued in their joint press release.

In the companies' view, the city is not currently equipped to regulate the activities of electric scooter companies.

A licensing model would give the city the means to limit the number of electric scooters and impose stricter rules on issues such as parking and security.

The companies claim that this approach has already been successful elsewhere in Europe.

Common rules have sought to solve these problems

However, according to the scooter companies, the situation in the centre of Helsinki is not as challenging now as it was last summer, although the number of scooters in the centre has doubled.

The companies have jointly agreed on a number of measures aimed at alleviating the current situation.

These include moving an unused scooter within a day, a parking patrol, and requiring the user to take a picture of the scooter at the end of the ride.

In addition, the City of Helsinki has significantly tightened the use of electric scooters. For example, in the city centre, scooters turn off in parking lot areas.

The government has started to look into setting alcohol limits for micro-mobility, which would include cyclists, personal electric vehicles (PEV's) and rentable electric scooters.

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