Lightweight electric vehicles to be legal in road traffic
A legislative reform is to be submitted to parliament, which would allow the use of e.g. kickboards with electric engines and Segway type devices in road traffic. According to the legislation currently in place, the aforementioned vehicles can only be used in closed areas and indoors.
The government submitted a proposal on 17 September for amendments to the Vehicles Act and the Road Traffic Act. The government would like to see the legislative amendments enter into force as soon as possible, but no later than at the beginning of 2016.
In its present form, Finnish legislation does not recognise lightweight electrically powered vehicles, which include so-called senior scooters, self-balancing human transporters with one or more wheels and e-bikes. Finland can make decisions on these nationally.
Additionally, the proposed amendments would see to it that any overlapping Finnish and EU regulations that apply to the type approval and market surveillance of two and three wheeled vehicles and so-called 4 wheeled and vehicles used in farming and forestry are eliminated.
One of the changes will include the exclusion of the traffic tractor category that has been in use in Finland, but EU tractors that travel at higher speeds would be allowed in their place. Another change would include simplification of the registering process for individually built motor bikes.
No so-called additional administrative requirements will be set for lightweight electrically powered devices, i.e. their use will not require a driver's licence, registration or roadworthiness tests. In this way, the legislative proposal will further the government programme target of doing away with norms and unburdening administrative load.
Lightweight devices that travel at a maximum speed of 15 km/h would be comparable to kickboards and roller skates, i.e. pedestrian traffic regulations would apply. The use of devices that assist or replace walking has thus far only been permitted for the disabled. This restriction would be eliminated.
The traffic regulations that apply to cyclists could also apply to larger transportation devices that travel at a maximum speed of 25 km/h, but self-balancing devices such as Segways may be used on pedestrian walkways, if they are driven at a walking pace.
Just as is the case with bicycles, these devices must be equipped with reflectors and a bell or horn. Just like cyclists, users of these devices must use a helmet. The use of a helmet shall be required for all ATVs that do not have a protective frame.
Ms Maria Rautavirta, Senior Engineer, tel. +358 295 34 2564