Plans to Tighten Rules for E-Scooter

Hopp scooters in front of Mount Esja in Reykjavík

Riders of e-scooters could soon be subjected to age restrictions, speed limits, and sobriety tests. Minister of Infrastructure Svandís Svavarsdóttir has submitted a bill to Alþingi, Iceland’s Parliament, that would severely tighten the rules on such vehicles if it becomes law, RÚV reports.

Injuries common

E-scooters have become commonplace in Iceland in recent years and have grown in popularity on scooter-sharing apps in urban areas. The bill would subject such vehicles to a 30 kilometre per hour speed limit. It would also become punishable to ride an e-scooter when inebriated. Over 40% of serious traffic injuries in 2o21 were sustained by pedestrians, cyclists, and rider of e-scooters late at night on Friday and Saturday nights when intoxication is prevalent, the bill states.

Furthermore, children were 45% of those seeking emergency treatment after e-scooter accidents in 2021, and a third of them were under 10 years old. “People are worried about these micro-mobility vehicles and we want to create the framework where people can use this mode of transportation in a safe way, because the accident rate is too high and is only climbing higher,” said Ingibjörg Isaksen, member of parliament for the Progressive Party.

Bill criticised

The bill would introduce a ban on children under 13 years old using e-scooters. The bill does not address the problem of shared scooters cluttering sidewalks and cycling lanes. “Municipalities can address this by making agreements with the scooter-sharing companies about their use in certain spaces and designate the areas where they are permitted,” Ingibjörg added.

In Alþingi’s consultation process with the public, the bill has been criticised for being excessive. The importance of education on the dangers of e-scooters has been stressed, along with the argument that square curbs, cracked sidewalks, and other surface issues could be the cause of many accidents, rather than user error.

Fatality in Bus and Scooter Collision

fatal accident Iceland

A man on an electric scooter died this weekend after colliding with a bus, RÚV reports. The victim, who was a foreign national living in Iceland, was in his twenties.

This is the second fatal accident involving an electric scooter in Iceland. The first occurred almost a year ago exactly, in November of 2021, when a man in his 50s collided with a motorcycle.

According to police spokesperson Guðmundur Páll Jónsson, the man seems to have driven his scooter into the side of a group coach about the size of a bus, when it was travelling at low speed. The collision took place at the corner of Barónstígur and Grettisgata around 9:00 pm on Saturday night. Police are still investigating the circumstances of the accident.

The The Red Cross offered trauma support and counseling to seventeen of the passengers, as well as three more witnesses on Sunday. Sunday also happened to be a day of memorial for victims of traffic accidents. Eight people have died in traffic-related accidents in Iceland in 2022.

This article has been updated.

New Collaboration May Make It Possible to Hopp from Bus to E-Scooter in Same Trip

Hopp scooters in front of Mount Esja in Reykjavík

A new collaboration between electric scooter company Hopp and the Strætó bus service could make it possible for commuters to easily transfer from bus to scooter using the same app, Vísir reports.

When Hopp launched in Reykjavík in 2019, many observers thought it was a death knell for Strætó—that given the option of jumping on an e-scooter, many riders would stop taking the bus entirely. This hasn’t proven to be the case, though. In fact, the two transport modes seem to complement one another, as evidenced by the e-scooters often strewn around city bus shelters.

Two modes of transit, one app

Hopp was started by software developers and so it only makes sense that they’d be thinking about new ways to integrate their own software and app with Strætó’s. Hopp CEO Sæunn Ósk Unnsteinsdóttir says she believes it should be possible, for instance, for the company’s e-scooters to pop up on the bus map in the Strætó app.

“This is, of course, super important, because we know people are starting to pick up the Hopp app to look for scooters when they’re on the bus and coming into the city, for instance,” she explained.

Both Hopp and Strætó would also like it to be possible to use the same app to pay for a trip that is split between bus and scooter.

The technology exists

“Whether it’s a credit with Hopp or [the Strætó app] redirects you to the Hopp app, these are just technical implementations that need to happen when the conversation gets underway,” continued Sæunn. Strætó CEO Jóhannes Rúnarsson agrees. The technology exists, he says, it’s just a matter of kick-starting the process.

Other e-scooters have entered the Icelandic market, but Hopp is still the scooter of choice in Reykjavík, and in Iceland more generally. Outside of the capital, the company also has fleets in Akranes, Akureyri, Egilsstaðir, Hveragerði, Reykjanesbær, Selfoss, and the Westman Islands. Abroad, it has e-scooters in three cities in Spain, as well as Norway, Greece, and the Faroe Islands. Hopp records some 6,000 trips a day on its scooters and Sæunn foresees a day where there are e-scooter docks next to every bus station in the city. The company now employs 50 people and is growing its fleet from 1,000 scooters around the capital to 3,000. It is also looking to expand into nearby Árbær and Grafarvogur, as well as a number of other towns in Iceland and abroad (Poland, Hungary, Italy) in the coming year.