Gelsenkirchen Becomes First German City to Ban Rental E-Scooters

Gelsenkirchen, Germany bans rental e-scooters due to safety concerns and regulatory challenges, setting a precedent for other cities grappling with similar issues.

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Wojciech Zylm
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Gelsenkirchen Becomes First German City to Ban Rental E-Scooters

Gelsenkirchen Becomes First German City to Ban Rental E-Scooters

The city of Gelsenkirchen in Germany has become the first city in Germany to ban rental e-scooters. The decision comes after a prolonged dispute between the city administration and rental services Bolt and Tier over measures to prevent irresponsible user behavior, such as carrying multiple people or speeding in pedestrian zones.

Gelsenkirchen had required e-scooter users to verify their identity in order to better penalize misconduct and enhance road safety, but the rental companies refused to integrate this identity check into their vehicles. The city recorded many administrative offenses committed by e-scooter users, which were difficult to prosecute due to the anonymity of the riders.

As a result, the Gelsenkirchen Administrative Court ruled that Bolt and Tier must remove their 350 electric scooters from the city by this weekend. The city has terminated its contracts with the providers and ordered the removal of all rental e-scooters from public spaces. The ban will take effect immediately, even without a final court ruling.

The city cites issues such as e-scooters being left on sidewalks and creating hazards for pedestrians as reasons for the ban. Gelsenkirchen has reported several serious accidents involving e-scooters, including a two-year-old girl being knocked over and an e-biker being fatally injured.

Why this matters: Gelsenkirchen's decision to ban rental e-scooters sets a precedent for other German cities grappling with similar safety concerns and regulatory challenges. The move highlights the ongoing debate over the proper regulation and integration of e-scooters into urban transportation systems.

The rental companies have criticized the city's "disproportionate and discriminatory approach" against e-scooters, and an appeal against the court decision is possible. However, for now, the ban will remain in place. The use of privately owned electric scooters in Gelsenkirchen remains permitted.

Key Takeaways

  • Gelsenkirchen, Germany bans rental e-scooters due to safety concerns.
  • Rental companies refused to integrate identity checks to penalize misconduct.
  • Court ruled rental companies must remove 350 e-scooters by the weekend.
  • Gelsenkirchen cites sidewalk hazards and accidents as reasons for the ban.
  • Rental companies criticize the ban as "disproportionate and discriminatory".