With the approval of the implementing decree by the Ministry of Transport, Municipalities will be able to apply the new circulation rules for hoverboards, segways, electric scooters and monowheels.
The mobility of the near future will go beyond the classic distinction between the four- and two-wheeled vehicles as we know them today. Cars, vans, scooters, motorcycles and bicycles will be joined by a new category of transport, that is micromobility, consisting of hoverboards, segways, electric scooters and monowheels. They have wheels like traditional forms of transport, are powered by electric motors and transport people in an upright position, but they do not require number plates, are exempted from taxes and do not need to be insured, just like bicycles. Until now, this sector had not been regulated because these forms of transport were not taken into account by the Highway Code. In fact, they were prohibited in public places.
Pedestrian areas and cycle paths
Things have changed in the last few weeks: as established by the 2019 Budget law, the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport has given the green light for trials to begin. The implementing decree specifies the characteristics of the forms of transport as well as the areas and streets where the trials will take place, possibly beginning this summer.
In this way, electric scooters, hoverboards, segways and monowheels will be allowed to circulate in urban areas, prior municipal deliberation, in pedestrian areas, on footpaths and cycle paths, in cycle lanes and reserved lanes, in zones and on roads with a speed limit of 30 km/h. To date no municipality has launched a trial, although there has been interest from Milan, Turin, Rome, Rimini and Cattolica.
Requirements and specifications
The MIT has made a distinction between self-balancing devices (the ones maintaining their own balance) and other types. The former category includes hoverboards, segways and monowheels, while electric scooters form part of the second category. It will be mandatory for scooters and segways to have horns; to circulate after dark and before first light, all devices will have to be equipped with front lights and retroreflectors. In their absence, they will have to be pulled or transported by hand.
They will also have to be fitted with a speed regulator that can be adjusted according to the speed limits in force (e.g. 6 km/h in pedestrian zones). These devices can only be used by adults, while minors of 14 and above can use them only if they have an AM license, the permit required to ride 50 cc motorcycles. Finally, it is forbidden to carry passengers or pull anything behind.
Maximum speed: 20 km/h
Trials, which will have to be requested by individual cities within a year from the entry into force of the MIT regulation, will last from a minimum of one year to a maximum of two. They will take place in specific areas, indicated with specific signs different for each type of device permitted.
The decree establishes that monowheels and hoverboards are permitted only in pedestrian zones and areas with speed limits of under 6 km/h. Segways and electric scooters can also circulate in pedestrian zones, but always within the limit of 6 km/h. Segways and scooters will also be allowed on footpaths and cycle paths, in cycle lanes, in zones and on roads with a speed limit of 30 km/h, at speeds of no higher than 20 km/h. In the latter case, after dusk users will have to wear high-visibility jackets or braces.
Micromobility by the Volkswagen Group
The Volkswagen Group is ready to take up this new challenge and back in early 2018 unveiled the Volkswagen Cityskater, a 3-wheel electric scooter weighing just 11.9 kg and with 15 kilometres of battery power. This was later joined by the eXS KickScooter developed by SEAT together with Segway, an electric scooter with a maximum speed of 25 km/h and, depending on the conditions, a battery life of up to 45 km.
There are also other solutions such as the Skoda Klement e-bike which has 62 km of power and can reach 45 km/h thanks to its 4 kW motor, or the Volkswagen Streetmate and the SEAT Minimó. These are all micromobility devices, too, but they have different characteristics that require the approval and registration.