E-scooters and e-scooters are currently the talk of the town. The means of transportation are becoming more and more popular and it is already impossible to imagine German cities without them. In many cases there is even talk of a plague. While owners appreciate the convenience and flexibility, especially on shorter trips, e-scooters also face repeated massive criticism. Especially at the beginning, there was a lack of clear legal regulations – this is now to be countered by the new regulation for very small electric vehicles. The following article is intended to provide you with an overview of the legal framework conditions.
First of all, the regulation mentioned applies to all vehicles with a steering or holding bar, with a maximum design speed of up to 20 km/h and a road permit/operating license – for example, e-scooters and Segways. Airwheels, hoverboards or e-skateboards are therefore not included. Here it is not yet certain whether for these means of transportation likewise still another regulation comes. E-scooters are allowed to ride on bike paths, bike lanes and in bike lanes. It is only permissible to use the roadway if it is not available. It is forbidden to drive on sidewalks, pedestrian zones and one-way streets against the direction of travel (unless special signs explicitly allow this). Brakes and lighting systems are mandatory – so is a valid operating license.
A driver's license is not necessary, the minimum age is 14 years. There is no obligation to wear a helmet. E-scooters may be driven by one person only. This applies even if the permissible total weight is not exceeded with two persons. Another important topic is insurance coverage. For e-scooters, for example, liability insurance is mandatory and must be evidenced by a corresponding sticker on the vehicle. These are reminiscent of the familiar moped license plates – only in smaller. The liability insurance covers damages of third parties, own damages usually have to be borne by the driver. However, some insurance companies offer protection that goes beyond the scope of liability – similar to a partial or fully comprehensive insurance policy.
Alcohol on the e-scooter
Many owners of e-scooters completely underestimate the issue of alcohol in particular. Because the same strict rules and blood alcohol limits apply here as for car drivers. So novice drivers must also adhere to the 0.0 limit here, otherwise the well-known 0.5 per mille limit applies. In case of failure to drive, a fine or, in the worst case, the revocation of the driver's license can even threaten from a value of 0.3 promille.
Penalties may also be available. Here, for example, § 316 StGB (drunkenness in traffic) is to be thought of. According to this, anyone who drives a vehicle despite being unable to drive the e-scooter safely as a result of consuming alcoholic beverages or other intoxicating substances is liable to prosecution. The penalty is a fine or imprisonment for up to one year. Here, too, a distinction must be made between relative and absolute incapacity to drive. Absolute inability to drive is given from a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 1.1 promille. As of this value, the inability to drive is irrefutably presumed. Below the threshold of absolute driving incapacity, there is relative driving incapacity. It can already be present starting from a BAK of 0,3 Promille. In addition, however, the person concerned must be conspicuous by intoxication-related failure symptoms. Such failure symptoms are for example driving in serpentines or driving straight ahead in a curve. The intoxication-related failure symptoms must be proven by law enforcement agencies.
You are in for even more trouble if you also injure another person with the e-scooter while drunk – even endangerment is already sufficient – or if you damage another vehicle. Here, the penalty ranges from a fine to five years imprisonment.