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Austria: Ban on Riding E-Scooters on Sidewalks Enacted

(May 31, 2019) On May 22, 2019, an amendment to the Austrian Traffic Ordinance was published in the Federal Law Gazette that generally prohibits riding electric scooters (e-scooters) on sidewalks, unless otherwise permitted. E-Scooter riders must use bike lanes. The amendment will enter into force on June 1, 2019. (Änderung der Straßenverkehrsordnung 1960 (31. StVO-Novelle) [Amendment to the Traffic Ordinance 1960 (31st Amendment)], BUNDESGESETZBLATT [BGBl.] [FEDERAL LAW GAZETTE] I, No. 37/2019, § 88b, Legal Information System Austria website; Straßenverkehrsordnung 1960 [StVO 1960] [Traffic Ordinance 1960], July 6, 1960, BGBl. I No. 159/1960, Legal Information System Austria website.)

Features of the Amendment

The amendment of the Traffic Ordinance clarifies that scooters are not considered “vehicles” by amending the general definition of vehicles. (31st Amendment, no. 1.) Furthermore, the Amendment generally prohibits riding e-scooters on sidewalks. As an exception, public authorities may pass an ordinance that permits riding e-scooters on certain sidewalks if the e-scooters have a maximum wattage of 600 and a top speed of 25 kmh (15.5 mph). (Id. no. 10, § 88b, para. 1.) In all other cases, e-scooters with a maximum wattage of 600 and a top speed of 25 kmh must use bike lanes. (Id.) In addition, e-scooter riders must adhere to all the traffic rules applicable to bicyclists. (Id. § 88b, para. 2.)

E-Scooter riders must not endanger or hinder other traffic participants; in particular on sidewalks, they must not move faster than a walking pace and must adjust their speed to pedestrian traffic in pedestrian zones and on residential streets. (Id. § 88b, para. 3.)

In addition, children under 12 years of age must be accompanied by a person 16 years or older, except for when they possess a bike license. (Id. § 88b, para. 4.)

Finally, e-scooters must be equipped with effective braking devices; retroreflectors or reflecting foil that reflects in white to the front, in red to the back, and in yellow to the side; and a white front light and red back light for darkness and poor visibility. (Id. § 88, para. 5.)