Electric scooters have taken Norway by storm, and you will see hundreds of these in all the major cities. There’s a huge debate over how these electric scooters should be treated, such as whether or not they should ride on the sidewalk, and the debate has reached a point where new laws have been implemented to regulate the use of electric scooters.
The new laws dictates that you need to be over 12 years old, have the electric scooter insured with liability insurance, and not be intoxicated when driving an electric scooter. You can still ride it on the sidewalk.
You also don’t need a drivers licence to drive an electric scooter, and anyone above the age limit can ride one. These rules applies for both rental and private electric scooters.
Most of the laws for riding an electric scooter are new as of June 15 2022, where the electric scooter got many new laws. It got reclassified as a type of vehicle instead of a type of bike, which lead to lots of new rules and regulations coming into play.
This also leads to some general vehicle laws and regulations, like a ban on using your mobile phone when driving, following all the general traffic rules and things like that.
A new age limit to drive an electric scooter
Anyone used to be able to ride an electric scooter, but the new laws has put a minimum age in effect.
You need to be at least 12 years old to ride an electric scooter, with no exceptions. If you are under the age of 15, you are also legally required to wear a helmet when driving.
As long as you’re over 15 years old, you can choose if you want to use a helmet or not, but I really recommend it. Head accidents are one of the biggest issues with electric scooters, and helmets virtually eliminate this problem. You might also experience that you will be required to wear a helmet for your insurance to take effect.
Driving an electric scooter after drinking alcohol
One of the main issues we’ve had in Oslo is that drunk people used to hire electric scooters to get home easily after the bars close for the night. While this might sound like a smart idea, drunk people on electric scooters lead to lots of fall accidents, crashes and other accidents that lead to injuries. Both the riders themselves and many random pedestrians have been victim to accidents from drunk electric scooter drivers.
The new laws prohibits anyone with 0.2 ‰ blood alcohol level from driving an electric scooter. Keep in mind that we’re talking about 0.2 ‰ (2/1,000), not 2 % (2/100). So this is the equivalent to 0.02 %. In other words, you will pass this limit after just a few beers.
This is the same limit Norway has with driving a regular car after having had an alcoholic drink.
The insurances needed to drive an electric scooter
The new electric scooter laws also made it an requirement to get insurance, and all electric scooters require liability insurance / third-party insurance.
You have some time to get your electric scooter insured if you didn’t already, because the late dates for getting them are :
- September 1, 2022 for rental electric scooters.
- January 1, 2023 for private electric scooters.
Getting a liability insurance for your electric scooter is likely going to cost some money since this vehicle is known to lead to lots of accidents and injuries. According to one of the biggest insurance companies in Norway, If, it’s likely going to be very difficult to inform all electric scooter owners that they are actually required by law to get it insured. They believe most people still consider electric scooters to be toys, not vehicles.
However, it doesn’t really matter what people think about it. Once the requirement is in place, you will get fines and potentially serious economic consequences if you end up injuring someone without a liability insurance.
If you’re living in Norway and looking for a liability insurance for your electric scooter, the word ansvarsforsikring if the one you’re looking for. Most of the major insurance providers have it available. The exact cost of this liability insurance will vary on a personal basis depending on how much of a risk you are considered to be.
Driving an electric scooter on the sidewalk / pavement
Despite being classified as a vehicle, you are still permitted to ride the electric scooters on sidewalks and pavements. The reason for this is that the government fear that moving the electric scooter into the road with other traffic would lead to more accidents with a higher risk of a serious or even fatal outcome.
This is very disappointing to many pedestrians that feel unsafe getting passed by electric scooters when they are walking.
That said, you are required to be considerate of all pedestrians when driving an electric scooter. This means that you should always slow down to an acceptable speed when passing by pedestrians, and try to be as considerate as possible to prevent any accidents or near-accidents.
Following the traffic rules on an electric scooter
After being classified as a vehicle, you also need to follow all the traffic rules when driving an electric scooter in Norway. The short summary is that you must follow the same rules as when riding a bike in traffic.
This requires you to stop for passing pedestrians, always riding on the right side of the sidewalk, not using your mobile phone when driving, and adhere to the duty to give way on the right.
You must also follow all speed limits on roads, but since Norwegian electric scooters are capped at 20 kmph, this shouldn’t really be a problem for anyone.
Why is there a big debate with electric scooters in Norway?
The electric scooters are highly controversial and highly debated in Norway. This mainly has to do with accidents where third party pedestrians have been injured from getting hit by electric scooters on the pavement, or pedestrians that generally feel unsafe on the sidewalk.
Many people feel like the electric scooters should not be allowed on the sidewalk at all, but rather on the road. That way only the driver of the electric scooter is in danger, not random pedestrians.
Another big issue with the electric scooters have been the rental companies that have refused to clean up their vehicles. You could rent these electric scooters in the major cities in Norway, but could just put them anywhere you wanted after the rental period ended.
This basically lead to electric scooters being found all over the city streets, which looked rather terrible. The rental companies didn’t want to spend money on cleaning up, so this caused a lot of issues in the media.
What happens when you break the law riding an electric scooter?
The new laws for the electric scooters come with some serious consequences if you break them. Since the electric scooter is now considered a vehicle, you get high fines and heavy consequences for breaking traffic laws.
For example, driving an electric scooter while under the influence of alcohol will lead to:
- A high fine (many, many thousand Norwegian kroner).
- Loss of driver’s licence.
- Possibly jail time, especially if you are straight up drunk when getting caught.
The fines and consequences get more serious the higher your concentration of alcohol in your blood is.
If you use your mobile phone while driving an electric scooter, expect a fine of 7,450 NOK. This is the standard fine for using a phone while operating a vehicle.
Speeding tickets are likely following the standard speeding ticket fee structure, but again, the speed on electric scooters is capped at 20 km/h.