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Parking bans and restricted zones: How German cities plan to crack down on e-scooters

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Parking bans and restricted zones: How German cities plan to crack down on e-scooters
An electric scooter parked on a pavement in Frankfurt. Photo: DPA
10:02 CEST+02:00
Sharing vehicles, such as electric scooters and bikes, are to be banned from parking on pavements in Berlin. It’s one measure some German cities are taking to deal with the influx of e-scooters.

Electric scooters, which have been registered in Germany for two months, are undoubtedly popular, especially among tourists. 

But some cities are now looking to tighten the rules on them  – along with other sharing vehicles such as scooters and bicycles in one case.

According to a survey by DPA, some authorities are working with e-scooter providers to negotiate agreements on topics such as parking zones and more education for riders.

Here's a break down of the situation across some major German cities.

READ ALSO: 'Improve cycling infrastructure': Can Germany cope with electric scooters?

Berlin

In the capital, the city wants to ban all sharing vehicles (like e-scooters and bicycles) from parking on pavements.

In future, the vehicles will have to be parked at designated spaces at the roadside. Authorities say car parking spaces will be converted to use for e-mobility vehicles. 

"Electric scooters have once again brought the issue of pavement protection into the spotlight," a spokesman for the Berlin Senate Department of Transport and the Environment told Focus Online.

E-scooters parked in Hamburg. Photo: DPA

The aim is "to preserve the pavements as areas for the most vulnerable road users".

It makes Berlin one of the first major cities in Germany to attempt to regulate sharing services more strongly. The plans could become a model for other cities.

It follows complaints about electric scooters clogging up sidewalks and causing problems for pedestrians. Senator for the Environment and Transport, Regine Günther, of the Greens, held meetings with the scooter suppliers last week.

"We will also reach agreements with other sharing providers on how to use the planned parking spaces on the street," the spokesman said.

A spokesman for Deutsche Bahn, which operates around 3,500 Lidl sharing bikes in Berlin, reacted in surprise to the plans. So far, they have not been contacted by the city, but said they are open to a discussion.

The city hopes there will be a "reliable agreement" with sharing providers. If the providers do not keep their promises, other measures will be examined at the federal and state level – such as tighter controls or a change in the law.

"There is a right to traffic, but there is also a right to the protected space on the pavement," the spokesman said.

Günther has already said rental scooters can no longer be parked at the Brandenburg Gate, including Pariser Platz, and at the nearby Holocaust Memorial. In the apps of several large rental companies, these areas are now registered as restricted zones. 

E-scooters are not allowed to be parked at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin. Photo: DPA

In the Mitte district, parking is no longer allowed in all public green spaces. District mayor Stephan von Dassel, of the Greens, had complained in the past weeks about the mass of e-scooters and riders violating rules. There had also been several complaints from locals.

Dresden

The eastern city in Saxony wants to create special zones where e-scooters cannot be parked.

The zones include tourist magnets such as the Altmarkt or the Schlossplatz. However, there is no legal obligation, and it is dependent on cooperation with the rental companies. In addition, each company should operate a maximum of 2,000 rental scooters in Dresden – 300 of them in the city centre to avoid overcrowding.

There are currently no parking regulations for e-scooters at the federal level. However, there are some rules: the vehicles must be used on cycle paths – if there are none, users have to go on the road and avoid pavements. Users must also stick to a speed limit of 20 kilometres per hour and be aged 14 years or older.

There is no obligation to wear a helmet.

Cologne

The city has agreed a so-called quality agreement with providers such as Circ, Lime and Tier. The agreement also includes prohibited parking zones such as those around Cologne Cathedral and parts of the Rhine promenade.

This means that although users can ride in the zone, they are not allowed to park the rental electric pedal scooter there. The zones are marked by GPS and sometimes appear in the apps of the providers as red marked areas.

READ ALSO: Should electric scooter riders in Germany be forced to wear helmets?

Munich

In the Bavarian capital, authorities are more relaxed at the moment. Although there have been complaints about parked electric pedal scooters, the city administration does not currently see a major problem with them.

Together with loan providers, the city has already drawn up a voluntary declaration of commitment to rules and conditions. For Oktoberfest at the end of September, there will be special rules for e-scooters around the festival grounds. However, the authorities and the providers are still coordinating on this.

An electric scooter rider in Heidelberg. Photo: DPA

Hamburg

"Currently there is not a problem" is the opinion of the traffic authorities in the Harbour City. A spokeswoman said that the complaints to the police are low.

With four e-scooter firms represented in Hamburg to date, the city has already agreed on around 500 no-parking zones. Above all, the areas around the water and green areas are protected from carelessly parked e-scooters.

"In this respect, we are not planning to expand the zones in which the rental of scooters cannot be parked," the spokesman said.

Frankfurt

There are no conditions in the Hesse city, Hans Preißl, a traffic officer, said. "At present, we can do no more than say with a firm voice: 'This is not possible'."

The number of complaints is quite high, but this is always the case in the transport sector, said Preißl. "It's just a new vehicle in our city."

READ ALSO: Will fines for electric scooter riders improve safety?

Hanover

In the Lower Saxony city, e-scooters have only started appearing all over the streets in the last two weeks. A police spokesman said there have been no major problems so far. Authorities said it was forbidden to park the scooters in parks.

Mannheim and Heidelberg

Things are just getting started in these cities. The rental company Tier Mobility has set up 100 to 150 vehicles there for a week and wants to increase the number. Stuttgart will soon follow with three suppliers, including the German subsidiary of the US company Lime.

Lübeck

And the scooters are also on the road in Lübeck, Schleswig-Holstein. There's already been a slight mishap – police had to fish a very badly parked scooter out of the Trave river. Perhaps more regulations lie ahead to avoid this in future?

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