The use of electric scooters has been temporarily banned…
Electric scooters have been popping up across the city, from the bright green KIWIride, which launched last month, to the orange scooters around the Dubai Opera district, launched by California-based startup, Qwikly.
However, if you’ve noticed their sudden disappearance, it could be because Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) has banned the use of electric scooters on sidewalks in Dubai, according to Gulf News.
But the move looks to be temporary. According to a circular issued by the RTA, the temporary ban will allow the transport authority to study the technology, reduce the threat to pedestrians, and eventually introduce new laws governing the form of transport.
The RTA is “currently considering the technical and legislative requirements to allow the operation of electric scooters in addition to the conditions and commitment of scooter drivers,” according to the notice.
The UAE would be following in the footsteps of several European countries who made the move to regulate electric scooters last year.
Qwikly arrived in Dubai at the end of 2018, with a fleet of scooters available to hire around the Downtown area. However, in a Tweet on February 18, Qwikly advised that they had pulled their Dubai fleet for the time being, adding that they hoped to be back soon. “We are waiting for regulation” they finished the Tweet.
Glad you liked them so much. Hopefully, we will be back in a few months. We are waiting for regulation.
— Qwikly (@moveqwikly) February 26, 2019
KIWIride launched next, with a fleet of more than 600 bright green scooters across Dubai. Charging an initial unlocking fee of Dhs2.99, riders were then charged a flat fee of 59 fils every minute after that.
However, on March 8, KIWIride issued a statement on Facebook saying that ‘Due to Dubai Police request scooters which are in Jumeirah areas Umm Suqeim, Al Safa, Al Wasl, Umm Al Sheif, Al Manara and Bur Dubai will be blocked until advised, while other areas will be active/operational’. However, a quick glance to the app shows that there were no scooters available.
A third company, Skoot Mobility was scheduled to launch at the start of March, but delayed. A new launch date has not been issued, and in a statement to Gulf News, the company said that they working with regulators and waiting for permission to launch.
RTA announced in a statement that the ban currently only applies to scooter rentals and not privately-owned electric scooters. In a tweet they said, “considering public safety is RTA’s priority, and to regulate vehicle use in the city, RTA has issued a circular to all electric scooter rental companies to stop their activities until new regulations are in force.”