By Xiu Ying
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The Legislative Assembly of the State of Rio de Janeiro (Alerj) approved, on Thursday, June 13th, a bill to regulate scooters and similar electric models, such as unicycles and electric bicycles. The law provides for the compulsory online testing of basic traffic knowledge to be allowed to rent one of these electric vehicles.
According to the bill drafted by state deputy Alexandre Knoploch, the user will be required to log onto the Detran (Traffic Department) website and register to take the test. If the test is passed, a number will be generated and linked to the applicant’s CPF, which is an individual register number, comparable to the social security number in the USA. The generated number must be entered when registering with the transport rental company. The test will not be required for those who already hold a driver’s license.
Among the other requirements set out in the bill are the liability of operating companies for likely accidents in which their vehicles may become involved, the register of all users, the offering of customer service, as well as maintaining a third-party complaint service.
A first attempt to regulate the use of electric scooters in Rio was made on Tuesday by the Legislative Assembly (Alerj), which approved a bill setting rules and fines.
According to the text, currently pending the sanction of Governor Wilson Witzel, circulation among cars, buses, and motorcycles will be banned; and, unlike what happens in São Paulo, users may travel along sidewalks, at a maximum speed of 6km/h (4 mph).
Besides, there will be a fine of R$170 (US$43) for companies or users who violate these regulations. However, the measure may not yield results as traffic specialists claim that the authority to legislate on the matter is not the state’s, but the municipalities’.
According to the bill, authored by state deputies Giovani Ratinho and Rosane Flix, the equipment may only be used on bicycle paths or lanes, at a maximum speed of 20km/h, although they may reach 30km/h. Wearing a helmet is now compulsory under any circumstance: companies renting scooters must provide them.
Deputies also demanded the establishment of a 24-hour call center and the contracting of insurance for users. Under the same bill, an amendment by deputy Jorge Felippe Neto also makes it compulsory for shared bicycle renters to wear helmets.