If approved, the government’s bill would come into force on August 1st.
The scooters have been hailed as environmentally friendly, fun and a major part of the growing sharing economy in a tech-loving country such as Sweden, but their popularity has not come without side effects.
Complaints have been raised about e-scooters strewn across pavements – an eyesore as well as an obstacle for wheelchair users or parents with baby strollers – and an increase in accidents as their use has grown.
The Local asked our readers in 2019 what their opinion on electric scooters was in a survey. More than 100 people responded, with 46 percent thinking they are “great” and 44 percent “annoying and/or unsafe”. Around 10 percent said they had no opinion.
The government said it hoped that the new bill would reduce the impact electric scooters have on traffic, while making sure that they can still exist alongside other forms of transport.
“It’s about giving municipalities a few more muscles on top of those which already exist, in order to make sure that electric scooters exist as a good complement, but there should be order,” infrastructure minister Tomas Eneroth told Swedish public radio broadcaster SR Ekot.
The bill would make it easier for municipalities to move scooters parked incorrectly and enable them to charge scooter companies a fine for the service.
“Municipalities can either choose to collect scooters parked incorrectly, or require electric scooter companies to do so, so they are placed in a specified area,” explained Eneroth.
Eneroth further told Ekot that, although this new bill could potentially change one of the draws of the scooters – namely the fact that they can be parked wherever the rider stops – it could prevent the public calling for a complete ban on the scooters in the future.
“I think you can still leave the scooters where you stop, but it will be important that they are collected at special locations. I think with the disorder we have had, not least in Stockholm, the risk is greater than people get so tired of electric scooters that they start to call for a national ban, and I don’t want to see that,” he said.
Stockholm-based readers in particular responded to The Local’s survey in 2019 that the city was getting too crowded. Many meant this in a dual sense: more and more e-scooter businesses filling up pavements as well as the business market.
“These companies need to get it together – they’ve established themselves often on the back of aggressive marketing, in a way which has caused great concern. These electric scooter companies need to understand that they have a responsibility, otherwise there’s an obvious risk that stricter rules or bans will be on the agenda, and I don’t want that. I don’t think they want that either,” Eneroth told Ekot.
Eneroth, while also noting their positive qualities, has previously described the lack of regulations and heaps of toppled-over scooters as “a mess”.