Electric rental scooters return to Copenhagen: These are the new rules

New rules provide for the return of oft-maligned rental electric scooters to the Danish capital, this time with stricter parking zones.

Voi electric rental scooters in Copenhagen in 2019. The scooters are now again permitted in the city, but may be parked in fewer areas.
Voi electric rental scooters in Copenhagen in 2019. The scooters are now again permitted in the city, but may be parked in fewer areas. Photo: Søren Bidstrup/Ritzau Scanpix

After Copenhagen Municipality last year declined to extend trial rules allowing operating companies to rent out the scooters in the city, the first two-wheeled machines will roll out again on Monday under new rules.

But they can no longer be picked up or left in the Inner City (Indre By) or parts of the popular ‘bridge quarters’ (brokvarterer) of Vesterbro and Østerbro.

Those areas are considered to be densely populated parts of the city, and therefore out of bound for dropping off scooters under the new terms.

Scooters left in banned zones can result in a 338 kroner fine for the operating company, which can be passed on to users.

The new provisions adopted by the city council allow for 3,200 electric scooters operated by 2-4 companies, broadcaster DR reports.

The scooters must be parked in 240 designated parking zones in areas not defined as densely populated. This means the entire Inner City and parts of Vesterbro, Østerbro, Christianshavn and Amager are out of bounds for leaving the scooters.

Users may still drive the scooters in those areas and park them temporarily with the meter running, however.

Additionally, helmets will be compulsory for drivers of electric scooters from January next year.

Two parking attendants have been appointed by Copenhagen Municipality to check for incorrect parking of the scooters.

“There’s a battle for space in the city area. And when there are things like outdoors serving (at restaurants) and many people, we’ve said there’s not enough space to rent out scooters in those areas,” city councillor Marcus Vesterager told DR.

Operators – termed ‘transport service’ by the municipality – must apply to Copenhagen Municipality for permits to rent their scooters in the city. Two companies, Voi and Bolt, have so far been approved, DR reports.

The latter company is planning to place 800 scooters at the 240 locations permitted by the city, the broadcaster writes.

Bolt public policy manager Christian Thomassen told DR the company was pleased that the city was “showing confidence in us” by allowing the scooters to return.

“We’ve hired staff to ensure (incorrect parking of scooters) doesn’t happen. And we also have technology that helps us to see if a scooter has fallen over so we can respond and stand it up again,” ensuring the two-wheelers do not occupy extra public space, Thomassen also said.

It will also not be possible to rent the scooters at night during the weekend, he added.

Member comments

  1. Scooters and moped riders seem to be the most aggressive and therefore dangerous. I find it difficult to understand why a motorized vehicle is allowed to share a bicycle path. These are NOT compatible with a slower moving bike. Yea, there are some bike riders who rider fast and even dangerously, and that is a problem,. But is we recognize that, then why not craft some rules and enforce them, not add another component. I recently witnessed a food delivery driver on a scooter knock a bike rider over with his backpack as he sped down the road, weaving in and out of other riders. These plan is all about money and ignores the welfare of the majority of bicycle commuters. I would like the city to show there is a strong demand for these vehicles? I am certain they can not, so the question begs, why approve them? Who has been lobbied and perhaps ‘influenced’ to approve such a plan?

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Copenhagen to miss 2025 zero emissions target

Copenhagen will not reach its longstanding target of becoming CO2 emissions neutral by 2025.

Cyclists on Copenhagen's
Cyclists on Copenhagen's "Lille Langebro" bridge. The Danish capital has admitted to errors in emissions calculations and says it won't be climate neutral in 2025, a long-standing target. Photo by Febiyan on Unsplash

A city councillor told newspaper Jyllands-Posten that the city, which has long stated its aim of becoming the world’s first CO2-neutral capital, would not meet that target as scheduled.

“I won’t need to stand there in 2025 and say ‘hurrah, we’re CO2 neutral’, because I know that CO2 will still be emitted (then),” elected representative Ninna Hedeager Olsen of the Copenhagen Municipality environment section told Jyllands-Posten.

Tourist board Visit Denmark has previously used the emissions goal to market the city, while Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen named the target during the C40 climate summit when it was hosted by Copenhagen in 2019.

But the municipality has included wind energy produced in other municipalities in its calculations on energy sustainability, according to the newspaper report.

This means it effectively still emits CO2 overall.

The company which supplies energy to the city, Hofor, has erected windmills in a number of municipalities outside of Copenhagen. But the electricity produced by these windmills has been used in calculations of CO2 emissions in both Copenhagen and in the municipalities in which the windmills are actually located.

The replication of the energy production in data for different locations can “rightly” be said to be “cheating the scales”, according to Hedeager Olsen.

But that is not the only problem in calculations of the city’s emissions, she also admitted.

“There are loads of things that haven’t been counted,” she said.

The goal to become climate neutral by 2025 was first set by the city in 2012 in a climate plan adopted by the city government.

Copenhagen was the following year awarded the Cities Climate Leadership award for the plan.