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Sharp rise in number of electric scooter accidents in Barcelona

Police sanctions more than double compared to 2019: 14,200 in first nine months of 2021

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09 November 2021 06:23 PM

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ACN | Barcelona

The number of accidents in Barcelona involving electric scooters is growing sharply.

Between January and September, police recorded 540 accidents involving PMVs (Personal Mobility Vehicles, the name formally used by the city council for e-scooters), compared to 489 incidents for the whole of 2019.

The first nine months of 2021 saw an increase in accidents of 54% compared to the same period in 2020, although figures from last year were heavily affected by pandemic restrictions.

The local police force in Barcelona, the Guàrdia Urbana, have also seen an increase in the number of riding offenses, with 14,200 issued between January and September 2021, compared to 6,546 for the whole of 2019.

The main infractions by e-scooter users are riding where they are not allowed to or while wearing earphones. Almost one in three cases (29.8%) in the first nine months of this year has involved e-scooters being used on sidewalks.

Police spokesperson Jordi Oliveras said he doubts that e-scooter users are not aware of the rules about using them. "It's understood that being a user of a vehicle you must be informed," he said, and pointed out that the police have run several educational campaigns around scooters in schools and neighborhoods.

Two people in Barcelona have died in 2021 in accidents while riding e-scooters, which, along with the "exponential" increase in their use, is one of the reasons police are launching their sixth campaign on e-scooter safety this year.

Infractions and fines

So far this year, 2,746 e-scooter users that have been charged for running a red light, 1,658 for riding with headphones, 1,491 for having more than one person on the scooter.

The penalty for using an e-scooter under the influence of alcohol or drugs is €500, and for ignoring a red light or wearing headphones it is €200.

Podcast

How cars, bicycles, electric scooters and pedestrians can co-exist was one of the questions looked at the podcast below, recorded in September: Superblocks and tactical urbanism – who owns Barcelona's streets?

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  • A police officer speaks to an electric scooter user in Barcelona, November 9, 2021 (by David Cobo)

  • A police officer speaks to an electric scooter user in Barcelona, November 9, 2021 (by David Cobo)

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