No blood alcohol limit for electric kick scooters
While losing the driver’s license by just sitting in the driver’s seat of a car while under the influence, there is no statutory blood alcohol limit for electric kick scooters in Norway.
Rental of electric kick scooters have become very popular in the big cities of Norway in recent months. For many, it has become an alternative to a taxi ride home after a night out.
A number of injuries have already been reported due to driving with them. In Sweden, the first fatal accident occurred just before the weekend. Nevertheless, there is nothing standing in the way of using the kick scooters in Norway, even if you are under the influence.
“It is up to you to decide whether you are able to use the device. There is no age limit, either. Even small children may do so, it’s up to the parents,” Senior Adviser in Safe Traffic Norway (Trygg Trafkk), Bård Morten Johansen, tells NTB.
Small electric vehicles were considered to be motor vehicles until last year. The same intoxication limits applied as to cars. You risked losing your license if you drove them while on a bender.
Same as with bikes
The Norwegian Government, through a legislative amendment, now chooses to equate electric kick scooters, Segways, electric skateboards and other small electric vehicles with bicycles.
“There is no blood alcohol limit on bikes. There is, of course, a requirement that you shouldn’t be so pissed that you’re unable to drive safely. If you end up in an accident, you may have to face the music,” Johansen explains.
It is up to each individual to consider how able they feel after a pub round. Driving is in principle legal – as long as it is done responsibly.
Demanding to operate electric kick scooters
Johansen describes the handling of electric kick scooters as «demanding».
“You must have some skills, at least if you are to be able to keep track of the surrounding traffic at the same time. In addition, it is easy to alternate between sidewalks, pedestrian walkways, roads and bicycle lanes. You may then appear as a surprise to others,” he emphasized.
“That requires a copious amount of self-control, self-discipline and attentiveness,” he adds.
All three properties may be impaired by alcohol consumption.
“It is very undesirable to combine operating an electric kick scooter with alcohol. It is probably an advantage if the rental companies consider halting rental late in the day, especially during weekends – when many are under the influence,” he concludes.
Some of the rental companies have implemented such barriers against night rental, while others continue around the clock.
Risk punishment under the law
Police Inspector Egil Jørgen Brekke rejects to VG that people don’t risk punishment if they drunk drive electric kick scooters.
“You can’t drunk drive with neither bike nor electric kick scooter. If you are considered as being under the influence, you may be punished,” Brekke enlightens the newspaper.
The Police Inspector refers to Section 21 of the Norwegian Road Traffic Act, which states that «No one must operate vehicles when in such a condition that one cannot be considered fit to do so safely». He also states that there have been convictions in connection with bike accidents.
Several injuries with electric kick scooters
There are little injury statistics gathered on small electric vehicles yet. Oslo University Hospital informs Shifter that they, on average, handle one injury per day associated with electric kick scooters. Those injuries account for approximately 5 per cent of all registered injuries at the Oslo Trauma Emergency Reception in April and May.
“The figures indicate that this is a development we must monitor,” Traffic Safety Director of the Public Roads Administration, Guro Ranes, comments.
There has been recorded over 1,500 injuries with electric kick scooters in the US, including four confirmed deaths, thus far.
© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today