Bonn. So far only verbal warnings have been issued by the police in connection with e-scooters. The authority sees the danger of head injuries with falls and accidents with other road users though. So far, one accident with an electric scooter has been registered.
E-scooters are only available in Bonn since two weeks ago. But they are already firmly anchored in the cityscape. According to the police and the public order office, there have been few violations and complaints so far. "But it is now even more important to pay attention to each other in road traffic," says police spokesman Michael Beyer. Some people in Bonn feel threatened by ruthless scooter drivers. But the drivers themselves can also be seriously injured according to accident physicians, which is why they advise wearing a helmet.
While the number of accidents is rising in other German cities, the Bonn police have only registered one accident with an E-scooter so far. At the end of June, a young man on Kessenicher Straße had an accident when he allegedly ignored the right of way and drove against a car. He got away with minor injuries, but must now expect to be reported to the police. "The E-scooter had no insurance number plate and was not approved for road traffic," says Beyer. According to the driver, the vehicle was bought in good faith at an electrical store in Bonn. "However, two variants are offered there," says Beyer. An expensive one for road traffic with a valid operating permit, a cheap one that can only be used on private property.
From the police's point of view, the balance is mixed when it comes to electric scooters. "Of course, we are increasingly noticing them in the street scene," says Beyer. Wherever there are offences - for example when the pedal-scooters with electric motors are on footpaths - the police only issue verbal warnings with regard to the new means of transport. Fines have not yet been imposed.
At Erkelenz, an e-scooter driver had gotten lost on the motorway, in Cologne a drunk guy on a scooter was on the road. The latter seems to be increasingly becoming a problem: In Munich, police found that in more than 20 incidents with electric scooters the drivers were drunk. "You risk your driver's license because the same blood alcohol limits apply as for a car," says Beyer (see "Rules for e-scooters").
The city council has not yet received any complaints about e-scooters. "And there were no other points of contact," says Stefanie Zießnitz from the press office. The city sees the scooters "as a part in the mobility turnaround" - after the introduction of the bicycle rental system, the climate ticket and the expansion of the range of lines. In order to prevent e-scooters from being parked carelessly in the city centre, restricted zones have been defined. "The usage area and times are clearly regulated, which also leads to high acceptance by others." Stadtwerke Bonn assumes that the rental company TIER will increase the number of electric scooters from 200 to 800 in the next few weeks. The provider Circ, which is active in Cologne, is also planning to come to Bonn. "We are growing in order to satisfy local demand," said a spokeswoman for the company.
Some citizens see it differently and call e-scooters a "nuisance": They complain to the GA about ruthless drivers speeding through the pedestrian zone. "On the banks of the Rhine, people always drive on the pedestrian paths, and scooters are often used by two young people.“
Doctor Christof Burger, head of accident surgery at Bonn University Hospital, confirms that e-scooters pose a danger. "As far as the risk of head injuries is concerned, the scooters resemble bicycles," he says and advises wearing a helmet. In addition, e-scooters, just like bicycles, are often not perceived by truck and car drivers as fully-fledged road users and are easily overlooked. "What complicates matters is the fact that some users drive the e-scooters as they please. So far, there have been no patients at the university hospital who have suffered serious injuries after an accident. "But of course that is a looming danger.
RULES FOR E-SCOOTERS
"Anyone who uses an e-scooter in public road traffic must abide by the rules. Otherwise, charges and fines may be imposed. For example, it could cost between 60 and 180 Euro to break a red light. The police can impose a fine of between 15 and 30 Euro on anyone driving on the sidewalk. Driving on the motorway is not only life-threatening – it is forbidden and costs 20 Euro.
E-scooters need an insurance number plate - if you don't have one, you have to pay 40 Euro. If the electric scooter does not have an operating permit, 70 Euro are due. Driving side by side can cost between 15 and 30 Euro.
There is no obligation to wear a helmet, but the police advise you to wear one. You don't need a driving licence to drive an electric scooter. However, there is a minimum age of 14 years. The Bonner landlord TIER only allows use from the age of 18. The maximum permissible speed limit for so-called mini electric vehicles is 20 kilometres per hour. If you change your E-Scooter technically so that it drives faster, you can expect a criminal charge.
The same alcohol limits apply to e-scooter drivers as to car drivers, and there is also a ban on mobile phones and smartphones. If there is no cycle path, e-scooters must be put on the road, not on the sidewalk. Vehicles may generally only be used by one person. If you turn with your vehicle, you have to give a hand signal, just like when riding a bicycle. In Bonn, the rented e-scooters may not be parked in many areas of the inner city."
(Original text: Nicolas Ottersbach, Translation: Mareike Graepel)