The Department of Transport says that regulations can now be commenced to classify e-scooters as PPTs, allowing the minister to specify appropriate power, speed and weight values, along with other technical and usage requirements for e-scooters.
The department points out, however, that e-scooters will remain illegal on public roads until the regulations are in place.
This is likely to happen in the final quarter of this year, as the technical e-scooter regulations must, under EU law, be notified to the European Commission for review.
The act will also put e-bikes on a legal footing.
Under the legislation, e-bikes with a maximum power output of 250W and a motor cut-off speed of 25km per hour will be treated as bicycles under Irish law.
Those above these limits, and those that can operate without pedalling, will now be classified as e-mopeds. Under the new categorisation, e-mopeds will be seen as motorised vehicles that will require a licence, registration, tax and insurance to be used on Irish roads.
The new rules for e-mopeds will come into effect once the administrative arrangements for registration, driver testing, driver licensing and taxation are in place. This is expected to be in the first quarter of 2024, according to the department.
It adds that owners of e-mopeds will not need to make any changes yet, and can continue to legally use their e-moped like a pedal cycle or e-bike until then.
Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan described the act as “substantial”, adding that its provisions would help encourage more people to choose new ways to travel, and free up road space for improved public-transport, walking and cycling infrastructure.
The act also gives gardaí new powers to seize and dispose of scramblers and other vehicles, such as quad bikes, that are being used dangerously.
There are also provisions for the introduction of variable speed limits – specifically on the M50 initially.
The act will also support the National Transport Authority’s planning application for core bus corridors to provide for the continued roll-out of BusConnects infrastructure.
In addition, it provides for a framework to allow the regulated use of CCTV cameras and other data-gathering devices by local authorities and Transport Infrastructure Ireland on the public-road network.