Being able to circulate on the public thoroughfare with peace of mind implies everyone knowing his or her place, but with the emergence of new forms of urban transport, grouped together under the term “micromobility”, we tend to lose our bearings as pedestrians, cyclists or motorists (and other users of motor vehicles).
But first of all, what is “micromobility”?
Micromobility is a form of "soft mobility", i.e. small-scale, low-speed transport covering all the light, compact, portable modes of individual transport such as scooters, skateboards, electric unicycles, gyropods, hoverboards, etc. It is most often practised in urban zones, over short to medium distances, and can be combined with another means of transport, in which case we speak of multimodality or intermodality.
Because cities have seen these new means of getting about emerge and prosper, and because now that they are electrified they have gained in speed and therefore potentially in dangerousness, society had to incorporate new ways of living together in the public space, and regulations determining precisely how users of these new devices are to behave were keenly awaited.
The new rules of the Highway Code
With effect from 1 January 2021, the Highway Code has therefore introduced two new definitions: the electric micro-vehicle (MVE in the French abbreviation) and the personal transporter (EDP in the French abbreviation) with new rules to be followed for their use in the public space.
- Electric micro-vehicles are all new electric devices with at least one wheel, for a single person, such as electric scooters, gyropods, hoverboards, electric skateboards and other devices of the same type. Their power must not exceed 250 W and their speed must be limited to 25 k.p.h. They must obligatorily be equipped with a brake for each wheel and an acoustic warning device, as well as with a white front light, a red rear light and side reflectors. Lights must be on day and night. Any absence of these obligatory items of equipment is subject to a fine. Users of electric micro-vehicles are considered as cyclists and must use the lanes provided for bicycles or the roads as the case may be. Children less than ten years of age may use the pavements and other areas provided for pedestrians, providing they give priority to pedestrians.
- Personal transporters encompass all the small means of transport with wheels attached to the feet or with a board but not electric, such as roller skates, skateboards, children’s bicycles and scooters. If they are designed for children, they must not exceed a maximum speed of 6 k.p.h. There is no obligatory equipment or lighting, but wearing a helmet and installing an acoustic warning device are recommended. Users of personal transporters are considered as pedestrians, they may therefore use them without restriction on pavements and all spaces reserved for pedestrians, subject to not exceeding walking speed.
For harmonious cohabitation
Whether we are pedestrians or vehicle users, we can but apply the regulations and use our common sense: use the circulation spaces assigned to us depending on our mode of transport, observe safe distancing from those in front of us and lateral obstacles, stick to speeds appropriate to our means of locomotion and to the people or vehicles around us, take account of the existence of other types of vehicles and users of the public thoroughfare and adapt our behaviour in their presence.
ACL’s priority is to contribute by means of its advice and assistance to respectful and safe cohabitation among all users of the public thoroughfare. Which is why we strive constantly to provide answers to your questions, regularly publishing information on the various ways to improve the mobility of all. Please don’t hesitate to ask us.