Electric scooters and the new highway code: what changes and how to be legal

Electric scooters and the new highway code: what changes and how to be legal

Electric scooters and the new highway code

For some years now, electric scooters have appeared on the streets, especially in large cities, i.e. an advanced version of the more classic "pedal" models generally intended for children and adolescents. Electric scooters have had a great diffusion thanks to the arrival of ever lighter and more powerful engines, large batteries and a summarily "measured" cost. In large cities such as Milan, for example, their success and availability is also linked to the possibility of being able to rent them with the numerous mobility sharing companies; whether it is a private purchase or a rental, it is not uncommon to see someone "wishing" with a scooter, even in winter.

This enormous diffusion, unregulated and unexpected, has inevitably led to a use that can often be defined as “wild”: traffic lights not respected, indistinct traffic on the road and sidewalks, undefined parking spaces and much more. The infringements in this regard have been numerous in recent years, as have the accidents.

According to what was reported online by numerous sector studies, in the city of Milan alone in 2022 almost a thousand accidents were reported with some of which are also fatal. Losing your balance from an electric scooter at 30 km/h is dangerous and certainly more lethal than a fall from a bicycle or moped. In this regard, there have been numerous parliamentary questions on a possible correction of the use of electric scooters by proposing changes, even important ones, to make them more "legal" and closer to the means of transport already available on the road.

Government proposals approved

With the approval of the Infrastructure and Transport Law Decree, some changes to the Highway Code dedicated to those who use an electric scooter in urban areas enter into force.

Where they can circulate

The new rules provide that outside built-up areas electric scooters can circulate only on cycle paths; traffic in the city, on the other hand, is allowed on urban roads with a speed limit of 50 km/h, in pedestrian areas, on pedestrian and cycle paths, on cycle lanes, on cycle paths in their own place and on reserved lanes (i.e. anywhere the circulation of velocipedes is allowed). The speed limit remains fixed at 6 km/h in pedestrian areas, while in other spaces it goes from the previous 25 km/h to 20 km/h.

Parking on sidewalks is no longer permitted at the discretion of the Municipalities; parking in the stays reserved for cycles, mopeds and motorcycles remains possible.

At what age can they be used

Electric scooters can be used from 14 years of age, but under 18 years it is mandatory to wear a UNI EN 1078 or UNI EN 1080 approved helmet; it is forbidden to use it in two or to bring objects or animals. The price of an approved helmet can vary from a few tens of euros to a few hundred.

Which lights are mandatory and how to use them

From half an hour after sunset, throughout the night , and during the day, if required, a fixed front white (or yellow) light and an equally fixed red rear light must be used. Rear red reflectors must be present to increase visibility.

Beginning January 1, 2024*, arrows (turn indicator lights) must be amber and flashing at a frequency between 1 and 2 Hertz and pulse duration greater than 0.3 seconds. They must be installed both front and rear, in left-right symmetrical pairs with respect to the longitudinal axis of the scooter at a height between 150 and 1400 millimetres. If installed on the handlebar and clearly visible, they can also be a single pair.

*: electric scooters already in circulation and purchased before 30 September 2022 must be equipped with the new equipment by 1 January 2024. Expected in sale of compatible and compliant adaptation kits with directive 2006/42/EC to make electric scooters approved. Also in this case, the expenditure is limited to a few tens of euros.

More effective braking

The new standard provides for the adoption of a more efficient braking system: independent for each axle, so that the driver can operate the front and/or brakes without distinction or rear. This point, however, is not yet entirely clear as recognized by several specialized portals.

Usually the control unit is configured so that when the mechanical brake comes into action, the "engine brake" is also activated, which prevents the engine keeps running while we brake. Therefore, and in some models, a second brake already exists. Is the mechanism recognized by law? Ni. The legislation is not clear and the license to decide whether or not to apply a sanction is in the hands of the individual policeman.

Limited power

Electric scooters of various kinds have appeared over the last few years and tenor : from the most common ones of about 500 Watts to the super powerful ones of over 3,000 Watts. Which ones can be used on public roads? The motor must have a continuous power rating of no more than 0.50 kW (500 Watts).

In addition, there must be a speed regulator that allows you not to exceed the speed limits.

You have to stand

Unlike bicycles, on electric scooters it is not possible to sit or install a saddle. Although they are available on the market and mostly Chinese-made, in Italy there is an obligation to stand on the deck.

Headlights are not enough: mandatory horn

Electric scooters must be equipped with an acoustic signal, a horn, with such an intensity that it can be heard at least 30 meters away.

The rejected Government proposals

Over the years, the Government proposals have been numerous: from the directional indicators to the helmet, from the limited speed to the license plate. Many proposals, but only a few of them have been officially approved. Among the ideas rejected for the moment we find insurance, the use of the helmet (for everyone) and the adoption of the license plate.

Inserted in the Infrastructure Decree of 2022, these proposals were subsequently rejected, effectively offering a "half" revolution in the use of electric scooters. Electric scooters in Italy are over 2.5 million units, with around 600,000 for hire: no one will be obliged to have insurance or a license plate. The reason is simple: they are considered cycles on a par with bicycles and, as such, they will have no additional obligations.

What rules for sharing?

Scooter rental services are obliged of insurance coverage. Furthermore, the service must indicate the maximum number of vehicles in circulation, the parking arrangements to be respected and any restrictions on circulation in certain areas of the city.

Electric scooter rental operators must provide for the obligation to acquisition of the photograph at the end of each rental, so as to discourage wild parking.


Cyclically the Government, similarly with the eco-bonus dedicated to electric cars, provides incentives to purchase to switch to electric micro-mobility and abandon the car, perhaps temporarily. At present there are no incentives: we will update this paragraph in case of news.


As anticipated, the new Highway Code provides for specific rules of conduct to be used along the roads:

carry a passenger; carry a load; push or pull a load or vehicle; being towed or towed by a vehicle; drive the vehicle while on the phone; drive the vehicle while listening to music with headphones; driving the vehicle in an irregular and dangerous manner. In the event of non-compliance, you risk a fine of between 83 and 332 euros plus administrative detention. Naturally, it is also forbidden to drive after drinking alcohol or taking drugs.

Common questions and answers

Since when is insurance compulsory? Never. At present, civil liability insurance is not provided. Do I have to register it to get the license plate? No, the current Highway Code does not provide for the use of a number plate; electric scooters are classified on a par with cycles and, as such, do not require registration plates. When is a helmet mandatory? Yes, only for under 18s. The helmet must be approved and comply with the UNI EN 1078 or UNI EN 1080 standards. What power can I have? Maximum of 500 Watts with a speed controller. On private places, such as tracks or roads closed to traffic, it is possible to increase the power. Can I unlock the electric scooter? Similar to motorcycles or cars, the scooter cannot be unlocked to make it go faster. At what age can I ride an electric scooter? They can be used from the age of 14. Can I bring a person or my dog? The electric scooter is for personal use: no passengers, objects or animals. I have had an electric scooter for a few years, can I ride it? Yes, provided you meet the requirements for turn signals, brakes, horn and power as of 1 January 2024.

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