This is a translation of an official document issued by the DGT which proposes the official definition of mobility scooters (vehículos de movilidad personal, abbreviated to VMP) in order to provide legal classification as to how and where they are permitted, and clarification of other matters such as licencing and insurance.
Subject: Personal mobility vehicles (VMP)
Instruction 16 / V-124
Traditionally urban traffic has been legally disciplined in our country, differentiating pedestrians and motor vehicles. The first was assigned to the pavements as its natural space and the second to the roads. On this separation, the main traffic regulations that govern the cities were established, such as those related to restrictions, signalling, transit priorities, prohibitions, etc.
New technologies have favoured the emergence of urban mobility solutions that favour pedestrian travel by the help of new vehicle models that break the traditional pedestrian / motor vehicle division. These vehicles in some cases have a mass greater than that of people and move at a higher speed than pedestrians (see guidance examples in Annex I).
As a result of this, and because of the lack of a dedicated space on the roads, personal mobility vehicles (vehículos de movilidad personal, abbreviated to VMP) generate risk situations when sharing the urban space with other users.
Under these conditions, and as long as a specific regulation on the aforementioned vehicles is not drawn up, the Dirección General de Tráfico (DGT) proposes the following criteria:
FIRST – Technical and legal cataloguing
The VMP can be defined as a vehicle capable of assisting the human being in their personal movement and that by their construction, can exceed the characteristics of cycles and be equipped with an electric motor. Town halls will establish limitations to the movement on urban roads, depending on the maximum speed by construction, mass, capacity, service or other criteria that are considered relevant.
In order to technically and legally catalogue VMPs, the following will be taken into account:
- a) Personal mobility vehicles must adhere to the technical requirements established in the current legislation on industrial safety and general product safety in their design, manufacture, and commercialisation, in accordance with the provisions of Law 21/1992 of July 16.
- b) From the scope of traffic legislation, personal mobility devices will be considered as “vehicles“, in accordance with the definition established by point 6 of Annex I of Royal Legislative Decree 6/2015, of 30 October, which approves the revised text of the Law on Traffic, Circulation of Motor Vehicles and Road Safety. It has the aforementioned point in which a vehicle is defined as “The apparatus suitable for driving on roads or lands referred to in article 2.”
The provisions above imply, to the contrary, two characteristics of the use of these devices:
- a) The impossibility of assimilating them to the figure of the pedestrian, and which, therefore, cannot be used on the pavements and spaces reserved for them. This impossibility would only be excepted in those cases in which the Municipal Authority expressly authorises, as an arrangement of pedestrian zones, the possibility of its use in these spaces (article 7.1a a) and b) of Royal Legislative Decree 6/2015, of 30 October).
- b) The impossibility of cataloguing them as motor vehicles. Its configuration and technical requirements do not allow obtaining the corresponding homologations to be considered in this way because they are not included in the field of application of the harmonized regulations, at European level, in this matter or RD 750/2010, of June 4, which regulates the procedures for homologation of motor vehicles and their trailers.
SECOND- Applicable regulations
In accordance with the provisions set forth above, VMPs may be physically located within the scope of the road, provided that they are expressly authorised by the local authority. The municipal authority, however, may authorise their movement on pavements, pedestrian areas, parks or special lanes with prohibitions and limitations that it deems necessary (related to mass, speed and service to which it is intended) to ensure the safety of users. When they are assimilated to cycles and bicycles, the provisions in the legislation of traffic, road safety and circulation of motor vehicles will be applicable. In particular, the use of the VMP must be done in accordance with the rules of the road legal system.
THIRD- Permission or licence of movement and driving
As previously described, the VMPs are not motor vehicles and therefore do not require administrative authorisation to operate. Consequently, and until it is definitively regulated, the user cannot be required to hold a licence or driving permit. The foregoing without prejudice to the technical or other requirements that the local authority determines to authorise the use of VMPs in the areas under its jurisdiction.
FOURTH – Insurance
The compulsory requirement for insurance of vehicles only takes place when they are considered as motor vehicles. This is stipulated by Royal Decree 1507/2008, of September 12, which in its 1st article indicates what is considered to be a motor vehicle, and therefore, must be subject to mandatory insurance.
“Article 1. Motor vehicles
- Motor vehicles are considered, for the purposes of civil liability in the movement of motor vehicles and the obligation of insurance, all vehicles suitable for moving on the surface of the earth and driven by a motor, including mopeds, special vehicles, trailers and semi-trailers, whose mobility requires administrative authorisation in accordance with the provisions of the legislation on traffic, motor vehicle traffic and road safety. The trailers, semi-trailers and special towed machines whose maximum authorised mass does not exceed 750 kilograms are excepted from the obligation of insurance, as well as those vehicles that have been temporarily or permanently discharged from the Vehicle Registry of the General Directorate of Traffic… “
Notwithstanding the above, the user or owner of the VMP may voluntarily purchase insurance under the terms established in the general insurance legislation or shall hire it, in cases where, for its use in urban areas, the local authority shall establish.
FIFTH – Express authorisation for certain VMPs and cycles of more than two wheels
The VMP and cycles of more than two wheels that are destined to realise economic activities of a tourist type or of leisure must obtain an authorisation from the Municipal Authority in which it will appear, in any case, the route to realise, schedule and how many limitations are established to ensure the safety of road users. The Municipal Authority will collect the binding reports it deems appropriate.
SIXTH – Entry into force
This Instruction comes into force on the day following its publication.
Madrid, November 03, 2016
EL DIRECTOR GENERAL DE TRÁFICO P.V. (ART.10.2.A) R.D. 400/2012, 17 de febrero EL SECRETARIO GENERAL,
Cristóbal Cremades Rodríguez
One point we can extract from the information and subsequent implementation is that there are two different types of mobility scooter, both of which may be used on the road.
A small mobility scooter which does NOT have lights installed can only be used between sunrise and sunset and during conditions of good visibility.
The larger mobility scooters, which do have lights fitted, may be used at night and during periods of poor visibility.
The other point we must note is that in areas controlled by local authorities it is them who must determine whether or not the scooters are allowed on pedestrian areas, and so each town hall may have different rules for different locations. It is therefore important that you check with the local authority.
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