The first electric scooters appeared on the streets of Warsaw in 2018. They rapidly gained popularity, but also became a source of numerous problems, mainly due to dangerous driving and chaos related to abandoning the equipment on the streets. The source of these problems was the lack of adequate regulations defining what an e-scooter is, where it can move and park.
After numerous appeals from local governments, this issue has been successfully regulated - a law governing the basic principles and definitions related to e-scooters has been in force since 20 May 2021, and a law regulating the technical conditions and equipment for these vehicles since the beginning of November.
With the new regulations, it has become possible to provide more structured rules for moving e-scooters around the city and the locations people are allowed to park them. For several months detailed principles have been worked out together with operators providing e-scooters for hire. An agreement with five companies operating in Warsaw (Bolt, Dott, Lime, Blinkee and TIER) has just been signed.
What will be organised?
According to the regulations, parking electric scooters is only allowed in designated areas, or if there are no such locations, on the pavement, parallel to its outer edge.
To ensure order, it is necessary to designate the densest network of parking spaces possible to avoid leaving shared scooters in places that impede pedestrian traffic. For this reason, ZDM is marking several thousand municipal bike racks with a sticker indicating that this is a designated parking space for bicycles and e-scooters. This would quickly provide the city with a dense network of several thousand parking spaces, available on almost every corner, reducing the number of devices parked in random places. The stand also guarantees that the scooter will not overturn, which has been the nightmare of numerous parts of the city so far.
Furthermore, a network of “stop zones” for rental e-scooters is being prepared. These are to be visible in mobile rental applications and appropriately marked in the field. Operators have agreed to pay for the designation of such areas and their use.
With this parking network in place, operators will distribute e-scooters only to designated locations. Users will also be encouraged to take advantage of such locations and not to leave their vehicle on the pavement. E-scooters will no longer be abandoned just anywhere, in a manner dangerous to others. Those who will still leave their e-scooter in an inappropriate place may receive a fine from the city guard. During the last six months, thanks to the activities of the City Guard and ZDM, about 2 thousand incorrectly parked e-scooters have been removed from the streets of the city centre. The fee charged for removal is 123 zł.
According to the law, e-scooters must not travel at a speed higher than 20 km/h. Operators will block their vehicles from exceeding this speed. In selected areas, the speed will additionally be limited to 12 km/h to ensure the safety of pedestrians:
- On Krakowskie Przedmieście and Nowy Świat when these streets are pedestrianised;
- On Chmielna Street, on the section that is a pedestrian zone;
- On Bulwary Wiślane, where there is no separate cycling route.
- Excluded zones
E-scooters are subject to similar regulations as bicycles. Therefore, just like in the case of bicycles, entering certain places with such a scooter is prohibited. This applies for example to Stare Miasto, where the movement of vehicles on such small wheels is dangerous not only for pedestrians, but also for scooterists themselves. There is also no possibility to leave equipment on narrow streets without blocking the passage. The ban on entry also applies to Łazienki Królewskie and the Krasiński Garden. Operators have pledged to limit access to these areas as much as possible.
Information and education campaign
The need for an information campaign addressed to the users concerning the rules of mobility and parking of e-scooters has been repeatedly stressed both by ZDM and the operators. After all, the users of the devices should be informed about how they should act when the regulations come into force. ZDM would like to prepare such a campaign together with the operators and use the contact channels available to the operators to reach scooterists - e.g. through a mobile app or handlebar hangers.