Municipality cracking down on ‘illegal’ electric scooters

Local residents are becoming fed up with pavements cluttered with discarded rental bikes and scooters

A change in the law that came into effect in January made it legal to use electric scooters in Copenhagen, and since then around 400 have been released onto the streets for hire.

However, it seems as if the love affair with the new form of transport was short-lived, as complaints are coming in about scooters being abandoned all over the city’s pavements and taking up parking spaces reserved for bikes.

Obey the law – or else!
Three companies – Tier and Voi, which rent out electric scooters, and Donkey Republic, which rents out bikes in the same way – have been given an ultimatum by Copenhagen’s Technical and Environmental Committee. They have ten days to make sure they abide by all the existing laws.

The companies must also prove that they are no longer renting bicycles and scooters from public spaces through their apps, stated a press release from the committee.

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If they don’t do as they have been instructed, the municipality intends to remove bikes and scooters at the companies’ expense, as well as possibly reporting them to the police. This would also include bikes and scooters rented through the apps and discarded after use.

Up until now, Voi and Tier have argued that they do obey the law. “We work within the legal framework and we’re very aware that we have to adapt to Danish law,” Voi’s Danish head Eric André told TV2.

A difference of opinion
Copenhagen Municipality disagrees and says it has not given permission for the rental of electric scooters in the city, so all the scooters owned by Voi and Tier should be removed from public roads and pavements.

The companies argue that they rent out their vehicles legally through agreements with private partners such as shops, cafes and hotels that have given permission for the scooters and collect up the discarded ones.

The municipality, on the other hand, contends it is not sufficient to have permission from a private partner if the rental takes place in a public area in front of the premises.

A number of other cities worldwide are coming to grips with the same problem, but not all are going as far as citizens in Santa Monica and Beverley Hills. The LA Times reports that irate local residents have set fire to scooters, crammed them into toilets, thrown them over balconies or festooned the handlebars with bags of dog excrement.