Danish electric scooter hit-and-run highlights safety issue

Police in North Jutland are looking for the driver of an electric scooter who ran into a girl at a bus stop before fleeing the scene.

Danish electric scooter hit-and-run highlights safety issue
Electric scooters in Copenhagen. Photo: Liselotte Sabroe / Ritzau Scanpix

The 15-year-old girl was disembarking a bus in the town of Skalborg when the incident occurred.

“We are looking for a young man of around 15 to 16 years who came along at a brisk speed on an electric scooter without lights. The girl was getting off the bus and was run over,” North Jutland Police duty officer Jesper Sørensen said.

The boy briefly stopped his scooter before continuing, Sørensen said, while also confirming that he had breached traffic laws.

“He told the girl it wasn’t his fault and continued driving in a western direction towards a residential area,” the officer said.

The girl was taken to Aalborg Hospital but did not sustain serious injuries.

While the incident was not serious, it reflects growing debate in Denmark about the roadworthiness of the scooters, which are becoming increasingly visible in towns and cities across the country since provisions were introduced in January legalizing their use on bicycle lanes.

Road safety and impact on climate will both be considered as a decision is taken on whether to continue allowing the electric scooters to use Danish roadways, transport minister Benny Engelbrecht said earlier this month.

Police have warned the scooters are dangerous to users even when driven legally, and recently stopped 28 people during one weekend in Copenhagen for riding the scooters while drunk or stoned.

The two-wheeled vehicles are often left badly parked, and authorities in the capital have announced rules limiting their numbers in specified areas

Although Denmark has not seen any fatal accidents involving the scooters, other countries have.

In Sweden, a 27-year-old man was killed in May when the scooter he was using collided with a car, resulting in authorities calling for a ban on the light vehicle, Swedish news agency TT reported.

The UK does not allow electric scooters to be used on public roads or footpaths, but illegal use of one of the machines has resulted in a fatality. YouTuber Emily Hartridge was killed earlier this month when the electric scooter she was riding was hit by a lorry.

France has seen two traffic deaths involving electric scooters and their use on sidewalks has been banned in Paris.

READ ALSO: Electric scooters a danger to users when driven legally: Danish police

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Copenhagen to ban electric scooters from city centre

The city of Copenhagen wants to ban electric scooter rentals from the city centre, officials said Friday, in what would be one most strict regulations against a symbol of the new ‘sharing economy’.

Copenhagen to ban electric scooters from city centre
Electric scooters in Copenhagen. Photo: Liselotte Sabroe / Ritzau Scanpix

“It will no longer be possible to rent or park an electric scooter in the majority of Copenhagen's most built up areas from January 1st,” the city's environmental and technical services department said in an email to AFP.

In practice, the measure will ban scooters from the historic city centre and adjacent neighbourhoods, where it is already prohibited to park them.

“Unfortunately, we have encountered major problems with these electric scooters… It is extremely difficult for seniors to get around when they are left lying about,” municipal councillor Rune Dybvad said on TV2.

The measure needs to be approved by the municipal council but enjoys widespread support.

Despite being a symbol of the ‘sharing economy’, riders are not always generous or caring of others, zipping between pedestrians and leaving scooters poorly parked, thus prompting a number of cities to adopt strict regulations on their use.

Police in the city last summer stopped 28 people in one weekend for riding the scooters while drunk or stoned.

READ ALSO: Electric scooters are 'seven times' more dangerous than bicycles on Danish roads