In this new monthly column, afpop, Portugal’s largest foreign residents’ association, aims to answer some of the most frequently-asked questions by members.
Question: There’s a real, and it seems growing, problem where I live of people using these electric scooters in the town centre and on the roads. Are they allowed on the roads and in pedestrian areas?
afpop answers: According to article 112º of the Highway Code (Código da Estrada), electric scooters are subject to the same rules as velocipedes. This means that it is mandatory to respect all traffic rules; lights and reflectors are mandatory; they cannot exceed 25 km/h and are not allowed to travel on sidewalks, only on streets and bike lanes. Using a mobile phone or headset while driving is not allowed; when starting or driving it is not allowed to lift the front or rear wheel (wheelies) and, of course, driving under the influence of alcohol is prohibited. Although advisable, the use of a helmet is not mandatory (according to the Autoridade Nacional de Segurança Rodoviária). Those who do not comply with these rules may pay a fine of up to €300.
They are not allowed to be ridden in public areas or walkways, particularly in city and shopping centres unless they circulate on the duly signalled road for velocipedes. Of course, we will all have seen that many are, and it is not feasible to try to stop their use in those areas. However, you can report any particularly problematic areas to the Câmara and also to the PSP and ask them to monitor the situation. Whilst a driving licence is not required to use an electric scooter or Segway on the highway, the rider must be over 18 years of age and comply with all traffic rules – which, of course, implies that they know the Highway Code (Código da Estrada). Also, whenever they travel by scooter, they have to have their citizen’s card with them and cannot give a ride to other people. Scooters can only carry one person.
For more information about the benefits of membership of afpop, the largest association for foreign residents in Portugal, you can visit their website www.afpop.com; email them direct on firstname.lastname@example.org or call the afpop office on 282 458 509 or 938 252 100. Please remember to quote the Algarve Resident when contacting them.