Have Norway's new electric scooter rules had an impact? 

Frazer Norwell
Frazer Norwell - [email protected] • 5 Sep, 2022 Updated Mon 5 Sep 2022 10:33 CEST
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Have Norway's new e-scooter regulations been effective? Pictured are e-scooters left tipped over in the middle of the pavement. Photo by Ernest Ojeh on Unsplash

New rules for e-scooter users, such as those caught using the devices over the blood alcohol limit losing their licences, were introduced this summer. However, opinions are mixed on whether the regulations are necessary.

In June, a raft of new rules to try and regulate the use of e-scooters in Norway were introduced. The new set of national laws followed Oslo tightening up in 2021. 

Among the headline changes were the introduction of a blood alcohol limit, age limits and a requirement for both rental firms and e-scooter owners to have liability insurance. Owners of electric scooters have until next year to insure the devices. 

Enforcement of the rules has made national headlines in Norway. Recently, a woman was fined 80,000 kroner, and a man was fined 88,800 kroner, in separate incidents, for being caught over the blood alcohol limit of 0.2 while using the devices. 

Police in Stavanger, west Norway, has said the new rules, particularly the drink driving limit, have had a noticeable effect. 

"Although we still catch people with blood alcohol levels on these scooters, I would probably say that there are noticeably fewer now. The new rules and media coverage have helped," Aleksander Naley, from the traffic section at Stavanger police station, told local publication Stavanger Aftenposten

However, not everyone is on board with the new rules. Law Professor at the University of Bergen, Hans F. Marthinussen, has said the new, tighter restrictions are excessive. 

"It is meaningless. It is hair-raisingly strict. There is no reasonable match between what they (offenders) have done and the punishment they receive. It's like cutting off people's hands because they steal. The Ministry of Transport must come in and clean it up," the professor told NRK at the end of August. 

The professor's comments came after the two that were fined for using the e-scooters while over the limit also lost their driving licences. 

State secretary at the Ministry of Transport, Mette Gundersen, told Stavanger Aftenblad that the new rules were necessary due to the high number of injuries involving those who have ridden the scooters while intoxicated. 

She added that as case law surrounding drink-driving cases involving scooters develops, courts would better balance the severity of the punishment with the risk of being over the blood alcohol limit on the devices posed. 

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Frazer Norwell 2022/09/05 10:33

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