MOSCOW (Reuters) – Authorities in Moscow are imposing speed limits for electric scooters that whiz across the city, often on pavements, as calls for action grow following a string of accidents.
Muscovites have hired the scooters more than 1.2 million times since early April and are expected to continue flocking to rental services until the autumn.
But this has worried city authorities as scooter accidents increase, including one in St. Petersburg that left David Zaleyev, a dancer from the Mariinsky Ballet, temporarily in a coma.
To control the scooters, which are tracked by GPS, Moscow has imposed a speed limit of 15 kph (9 mph) in the city centre. When rented scooters enter the area, they are programmed to automatically slow to that speed.
With interest in scooters growing, the city transport department said it could make more areas subject to speed limits.
“Pedestrians can sustain serious injuries if they are hit by scooters,” Maxim Kadakov, editor of the car magazine Za Rulyom (Behind the Wheel), told Reuters.
“Under current laws electric scooters have the same status as pedestrians but they are 10 times faster.”
Moscow’s fleet of rental scooters is expected to double to 20,000 by the end of the year to meet demand, transport official Magomed Kolgayev said.
(Reporting by Dmitry Turlyun; Writing by Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber; Editing by Giles Elgood)