No jail for man who caused first electric scooter death

Court to consider prosecuting him for reckless endangerment after he ran over 92-year-old while checking his phone, say reports

The Rambla del Carme in Esplugues del Llobregat where the incident took place on November 28 2018 (by Àlex Recolons)
The Rambla del Carme in Esplugues del Llobregat where the incident took place on November 28 2018 (by Àlex Recolons) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

August 1, 2019 06:27 PM

The man who caused the first known death due to an electric scooter in Catalonia will not face jail, according to Spanish daily El País.

Citing sources from the judicial inquiry opened after the incident in August 2018, the newspaper says the judges overseeing the case have decided that the man will face trial for reckless endangerment at most.

According to the Spanish criminal code, this offense does not carry a potential prison sentence, but only up to a daily fine from 3 to 18 months. 

Thus, the 19-year-old individual will not face manslaughter charges, despite admitting he ran over a 92-year-old woman while distracted with checking his phone.

The electric scooter was moving at less than 10km/h at the time of the crash, which took place in Esplugues de Llobregat, in Barcelona's metro area, according to the same sources.

Yet, the woman fell to the ground due to the impact, knocked her head on the sidewalk, and died in hospital a few hours later.

The young man's defense requests that the case be filed, because he aided the victim immediately after the incident and admitted his part in the events. The defense lawyers thus argue that his actions were not reckless.

However, both the public prosecutor and the judges believe that the distraction with the phone amounts to a minor wrongdoing. 

When the news of the crash was made public in November 2018, Spain's road authority, the Directorate-General of Traffic (DGT), announced its intention to introduce new legislation banning the use of electric scooters on pavements and limiting their speed to 25 km/h.

Guidelines on scooter use in Barcelona metro area

A few weeks earlier, Barcelona's Metropolitan Authority (AMB) issued a series of recommendations for local authorities to regulate the use of electric scooters and similar vehicles.

The AMB's recommendations suggest that councils ban the use of such vehicles for people under 16, that the use of earphones and mobiles should be prohibited, and that the vehicles should be restricted to cycle lanes.

The guidelines also suggest that the speed of such vehicles should be restricted to less than 30 km/h and that, in the absence of a cycle lane, they only be allowed on pavements that are over three meters wide.