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Denmark: Copenhagen Limits Number of Electric Scooters on Its Streets

(June 13, 2019) On June 3, 2019, the Technical and Environmental Committee for the Municipality of Copenhagen decided to cap the number of electric scooters and electric bicycles available on the streets of certain areas of Copenhagen. The decision provides that only 200 e-scooters and 200 rental e-bikes may be placed in the most crowded areas of the city, such as large commercial streets and outside train and metro stations. In the rest of the city—areas that are less crowded—3,000 e-scooters and 3,000 e-bikes will be allowed. How Copenhagen City is planning to distribute the number of electric vehicle slots among competing companies is not clear, but the companies will be required to apply for one-year permits to put their vehicles on the streets. (Press Release, Koebenhavns Kommune [Copenhagen Municipality], Loft over elloebehjul i Koebenhavn [Cap on Electric Scooters in Copenhagen] (June 4, 2019), Copenhagen Municipality website.)

Driving e-scooters in bike lanes has been legal in Denmark since January 1, 2019. (Press Release, Transport-, Bygnings- og Boligministeriet [Ministry of Transport, Building and Housing], Bred enighed om nye forsoegsordninger for små motoriserede koeretoejer [Consensus on New Trials for Small Motorized Vehicles] (Dec. 6, 2018), Ministry of Transport, Building and Housing website.)

The use of e-scooters is regulated by a number of requirements, which include not driving them faster than 20 kmh (about 12 mph) and drivers being at least 15 years old and following traffic rules. (Id.)

Concerning the municipality’s decision, the acting chair for the Technical and Environmental Committee, Karina Vestergaard Madsen, declared that

[t]here should be no doubt that the majority in the Danish Parliament has created a problem for Copenhagen by allowing electric scooters without giving us any tools to regulate them and [thereby] escape the chaos that other cities are experiencing already. Therefore, the Committee’s proposal is the art of the possible, and we must ask the Danish Parliament to create a better legal framework in cooperation with the municipalities. (Loft over elloebehjul i Koebenhavn, supra (translation by author).)

Representatives from electric scooter companies have complained that they were not involved in the Committee’s decision process. (Koebenhavns Kommune saetter graenser for elloebehjul i gaderne, DR (June 3, 2019).)