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03 Dec 2021

Laois Gardaí seizing electric scooters as parents urged not to buy for Christmas

Laois Gardaí seizing electric scooters as parents urged not to buy for Christmas

A Garda spokesperson said e-scooters are considered to be mechanically propelled vehicles (file image)

Laois parents have being asked not to buy e-scooters for children this Christmas.

The unregulated silent and fast motorised scooters, now a common sight in Portlaoise, are also being seized by Gardaí from irresponsible users.

Garda Superintendent John Lawless said that some e-scooters have been seized.

"We have in the past, in this town seized those machines," Supt Lawless said. 

"The legislation we have is the same as for a car or motorbike. It's a mechanically propelled vehicle. It needs insurance, tax and a driving licence but unfortunately for people using them doing things properly, you cannot get insurance or a licence. That's the vacuum that's there," he said.

He was speaking at the November meeting of the Joint Policing Committee.

"We are waiting for a while for legislation, it's in the Oireachtas. They are illegal. They are in breach of the road traffic act. We are paying attention to it. The traffic corps are working on it at the moment and it's something we want to address. Hopefully there will be legislation coming fairly soon that will assist us on that," he said.

PPN member Bobby Delaney from Mountmellick had asked if the Gardaí had to power to seize scooters if users were seen "being a nuisance". 

Deputy Brian Stanley said that the scooters are getting bigger and faster.

"Some can do up to 45km per hour now. It's really becoming a problem. People are starting to get injured. In Portlaoise it's a problem and in different parts of the county. We who are representing the constituency at national level need to push harder for this to go through. It needs to be regulated. It should have similar laws as for a small scooter," he said.

He urges against buying them as Christmas presents.

"The situation is untenable. I can imagine after Christmas what it's going to be like because a lot of people are buying them for their small children. I'd use this opportunity to appeal to people that if you're buying something for children at Christmas maybe just put it back for a couple of years. Some children don't wear helmets, they naturally don't know the rules of the road, they are on footpaths, on cycle lanes. Someone is going to be seriously injured in county Laois and I just appeal to parents. There has to be personal responsibility here as well. A bicycle might be more appropriate," Dep Stanley said.

Laois Public Participation Network representative Sara Rasool had requested action.

"There are electric scooters in pedestrian areas and there should be more awareness of the laws. An old person was nearly knocked down in town centre. They are going very fast," she said.

Fellow PPN member Tom Jones agrees.

"I've seen it myself, e-scooters on paths designed for pedestrians. Pedestrians have a right to be safe, they shouldn't have to jump out of the way," he said. 

Portlaoise Tidy Towns are urging more Garda action on e-scooters. Read that story below.

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