Madrid orders removal of electric scooters within 72 hours

Madrid has ordered electric scooters off the city’s streets within 72 hours amid claims they are a public nuisance and just days after a 90-year-old pedestrian was killed in a collision. 

The council told the three main e-scooter companies operating in the Spanish capital – Lime, Wind and VOI – that their apps do not abide by rules that restrict the vehicles to bicycle lanes and single-lane streets where the speed limit is 30kmh. 

“They were given a deadline and told that to continue they had to fulfill a series of conditions, including avoiding agglomerations and that the start and end of rides must take place in permitted areas,” said Inés Sabanés, Madrid city environment and mobility coordinator.   

Madrid’s ban forms part of a global push-back against the whizzy two-wheeled devices that has seen them cleared from parts of Los Angeles and other US cities. 

The three-companies began operating in Madrid before any regulations were in place, starting with Lime in the summer. The council says it told them that they must adjust their scooters’ apps to ensure they were used in appropriate areas and not left to block pavements.  

Ms Sabanés said that the council would remove any scooters belonging to the three companies once the three-day warning period had elapsed. 

A spokesperson for Wind confirmed that it had received the order to remove its scooters from Madrid’s streets and that its team in Spain had met with council representatives on Tuesday. 

Madrid’s streets will likely only be free of scooters for a short while as the council is currently evaluating licensing applications from a dozen companies. Lime, Wind and VOI are welcome to apply again if they make adjustments to their apps, Ms Sabanes said. 

Madrid police have reported 22 accidents involving e-scooters since the start of the summer, including 8 where pedestrians were run-over.

Last week it emerged that two men are facing trial for manslaughter in Barcelona after they fatally knocked down a 90-year-old woman walking with a zimmerframe in a zone reserved for pedestrians.    

Spain’s DGT road agency said in response that it was drawing up rules on electric vehicles that would include a maximum speed of 25kmh. 

Responding to the situation, a Lime spokesperson said: "We have discussed the situation with Madrid authorities and are currently evaluating City Hall’s recent announcement around the temporary suspension of the main electric scooter providers in the city.

"We fully believe that LimeMadrid is an integral part of Madrid’s sustainable urban life and supports the framework of the recently launched Madrid Central Alternative Means of Mobility Plan."

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