The Tel Aviv-Yafo Municipality has issued various unprecedented new regulations for shared electric scooters, aimed at keeping pedestrians and scooter riders safe.
The new regulations include equipping all electric scooters with helmets, installing license plates, recycling used batteries, lowering the speed of the scooters in certain areas, and preventing the usage of scooters in restricted areas.
The Tel Aviv-Yafo Municipality said in a statement that the new regulations are unprecedented on a global scale and they are meant to set an example for other municipalities around the world who are dealing with similar circumstances.
In August 2019, the municipality embarked on a pilot to regulate companies that were renting out electric scooters in the city.
In the pilot, the companies were required to meet a number of conditions and restrictions in order to obtain a permit to operate in the city. These include ensuring availability throughout the city, limiting the maximum number of scooters per company to 2,500 units, allowing parking only in designated areas which must be marked in the companies’ apps, preventing usage by minors, implementing and activating a service call center, and banning the scooters’ alarms during the nighttime.
The scooters have become very popular across the city, though residents have complained about unsafe behavior by scooter drivers, blocking of streets by parked scooters, and various other problems.
Approximately 150 scooter riders get injured every month across the city, and many pedestrians are hurt as well.
After evaluating the pilot, the municipality has decided to continue the program, adding additional terms and restrictions with the purpose of increasing road safety and maintaining public order in the future.
Deputy Mayor of Tel Aviv-Yafo Meital Lehavi, who is in charge of the city’s transportation portfolio, said the new regulations are meant to keep Tel Aviv a walkable city, giving the upper hand back to pedestrians.
“Our main goal is to keep sidewalks as a safe space for walking, as the city’s sidewalks are designed primarily for pedestrians. Tel Aviv is a very walkable city and we encourage people to take advantage of the city’s small size, flat topography and over 300 days of sunshine a year.”