Malta to ban e-scooters rental from March 2024

VALLETTA, Oct 20: Malta will ban rental e-scooters from March 1, with the government blaming disturbances caused by the vehicles, reported German news agency (dpa).  

The surprise move announced late on Thursday prompted criticism from advocates of alternative transport solutions but was celebrated by the mayor of Malta’s most densely populated town, Sliema.

Representatives of the island country’s two main e-scooter rental companies, Bolt and Bird, did not immediately comment on the decision.

While rental e-scooters will be banned, people will still be allowed to own and use their own private e-scooters.

Malta’s Transport Ministry said the decision to ban rentals was taken to “reduce inconvenience for communities and people”.

“Despite increased enforcement and fines, communities have continued to endure the disturbances caused by rented e-kick scooters,” it said as it announced the ban along with a national cycling strategy.

That strategy proposes building a network of cycling lanes and encouraging people to hop on bicycles by, among other things, offering free state-sponsored cycling lessons.

Malta’s decision to ban e-scooters follows a similar decision taken by Paris in April. 

E-scooters are a popular form of transport in Malta, which at just over 500 square kilometres is the EU’s smallest member state. Complaints about dangerous e-scooter driving prompted the government to introduce basic e-scooter regulations in 2020.

But complaints about the vehicles being driven on pedestrian promenades and parked haphazardly persisted, and pledges to introduce designated e-scooter parking spots by the summer of 2023 never came to fruition.