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DRIVING

EXPLAINED: The rules for riding an e-scooter in Germany

The popularity of electric scooters in Germany has exploded in the last few years, but many people still aren't sure what the rules for driving them are. We break them down.

A man rides an e-scooter on a street in Berlin.
A man rides an e-scooter on a street in Berlin. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/dpa-Zentralbild | Britta Pedersen

Germany is currently the world’s second-largest market for e-scooter rental after the USA, which might explain why you have the feeling that you’re seeing the electric vehicles everywhere these days, at least in cities. 

According to a recent survey by ADAC,15 percent of people in Germany aged 16 and over regularly use e-scooters. Of these, 45 percent own their own scooter, while 55 percent rent the vehicles from sharing services.

Here are the rules for driving an e-scooter that you need to know.

Who can drive an e-scooter?

Anyone over the age of 14 can ride an electric scooter and you don’t need to have a driving license to use one. However, many of the traffic rules for motorists also apply to e-scooter riders, and misbehaving on a scooter could end up costing you points on your driving license or even getting you a driving ban.

READ ALSO: Driving in Germany: Eight German road signs that confuse foreigners

Can more than one person ride an e-scooter?

No. Only one person is allowed to ride a scooter and if you are caught riding in two, you will get a €10 fine.

Although it might be fun, riding side by side on two scooters is also not allowed and can be punished with a fine of between €15 and €30. Instead, you and your friends have to ride in single file.

Where can you ride an e-scooter?

E-scooters are principally allowed on bike paths and in bike lanes and you can only drive them on the road if there is no bike lane available. If you do drive on the road, you must keep as far to the right as possible and you are not allowed to ride in bus lanes.

It’s also forbidden to ride an e-scooter on the motorway – doing so will get you a €20 fine. 

Riding an e-scooter on the pavement, in pedestrian-only zones, or in one-way streets against the direction of traffic is also not allowed and can land you a fine of between €15 and €30.

However, e-scooters are allowed on one-way or no-entry roads which have a “cyclists free” sign.

A no-entry sign with a “cyclists free” sign underneath. This sign also applies to e-scooters. Photo: picture alliance / dpa | Jens Kalaene

Which traffic light rules apply to electric scooters?

E-scooter riders have to abide by traffic lights just like motorists, and the fine for ignoring a red light on an e-scooter is between €60 and €180.

However, if there is also a traffic light for bicycles, e-scooter riders can follow this one instead.

Is there an alcohol limit for electric scooters?

Yes, the same alcohol limits for motorists apply to electric scooter riders.

This means that anyone who drives with a blood alcohol level of between 0.5 to 1.09 is liable for a fine of €500, a 1-month driving ban and 2 points on their driving license.

It’s a criminal offence to ride an electric scooter with a blood alcohol concentration of at more than 1.1, as is causing an accident with a blood alcohol level of more than 0.3.

Under 21s must be completely alcohol free – with a blood alcohol level of 0.0 – to ride an e-scooter.

Where can e-scooters be parked?

E-scooters can be parked at the roadside, on the pavement and in pedestrian zones with designated e-scooter parking areas. However, e-scooters must be parked in such a way that they don’t obstruct or endanger pedestrians or other road users. 

Parked e-scooters in Stuttgart. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Christoph Schmidt

Which rules are there for e-scooter owners?

If you’ve upgraded from renting to owning your own scooter, there are certain requirements you have to be aware of. 

Firstly, it’s mandatory to have liability insurance and a special sticker (similar to a license plate) stuck to the scooter to show that it is insured.

READ ALSO: German words you need to know: Haftpflichtversicherung

E-scooter owners also have to make sure that they have two independently working brakes and lights. 

Which other rules should I be aware of?

As with driving a car or cycling, you are not allowed to use your mobile phone while riding an e-scooter (which is pretty challenging anyway). If you’re caught doing so, you’ll get a €100 fine and a point on your driving license. 

It’s not mandatory to wear a helmet when riding an e-scooter, though it is recommended. 

Member comments

  1. I live in the suburbs of Berlin and the e-scooters have arrived here now as well. I am amazed at the selfishness of the people parking these scooters. I usually see them parked in the middle of the pavement and feel sorry for parents with prams and people in wheelchairs who cannot then pass easily. Is it really too much effort to take care where you park the scooter?

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DRIVING

German drivers face higher fuel costs than neighbouring countries

Prices for petrol and diesel in Germany have risen above those of neighbouring countries since the end of the fuel tax reduction.

German drivers face higher fuel costs than neighbouring countries

The cost of fuel in Germany has risen significantly and is now higher than in all directly neighbouring EU countries, according to the Federal Statistical Office.

According to the report, the price differences compared with other countries amount to an average of up to 69 cents per litre.

In the three months of the fuel discount from June to August, however, fuel prices in Germany had been at or slightly below the price level of neighbouring countries.

From June 1st until the end of August, energy taxes on fuel in Germany were reduced to the EU minimums, as the traffic light coalition government cut the duty on fuel by about 35 cents per litre for petrol and about 17 cents for diesel.

But on September 1st the prices shot back up again.

READ ALSO: Everything that changes in Germany in September 2022

The main reason for the high fuel prices in Germany is the Russian war in Ukraine and the resulting rise in crude oil prices. Prior to the war, Germany had sourced around a third of its oil from the country.

How do fuel prices in Germany compare to other countries?

According to official statistics, motorists in Germany paid an average of €2.07 for a litre of Super E5 petrol and €2.16 for a litre of diesel last Monday. In Denmark, prices were similar at €2.04 for Super E5 and €2.07 for diesel, while in the Netherlands, the second most expensive neighbouring country, they were six and 11 cents below the German average, respectively.

In other neighbouring countries, fuel was significantly cheaper. In Poland, Super E5 petrol cost an average of €1.38 per litre last Monday, and diesel €1.61. In France, the Czech Republic and Luxembourg, too, the average price was at least 30 cents less per litre than in Germany. In Belgium, Super E5 cost €1.69 per litre, diesel €2.02; in Austria, it was €1.74 for Super E5 and €1.90 for diesel.

Social policy expert with the Left Party in the Bundestag, Sören Pellmann, told the Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung that the high fuel prices in Germany were a “result of policy failures of the traffic light coalition”.

READ ALSO: German petrol costs rise sharply after tax cut ends

Pellmann pointed out that mineral oil companies would rake in almost €40 billion in additional profits this year, and demanded that the federal government “skim off this money and permanently stop the self-enrichment at the expense of commuters”.

In France, he said, fuel prices were around 40 cents lower. “That’s the benchmark for the federal government,” he said. 

Bavarian state premier Markus Söder has also spoken out in favour of lowering fuel taxes again.

“It would be a real relief for people in rural areas if the fuel rebate were extended,” the CSU leader told the Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung.

“It is no longer just about helping low-income earners, but also to prevent normal earners from becoming low-income earners,” Söder said.

READ ALSO: Fuel in Switzerland: Why Germans are crossing the border to fill up

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