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Children and electric scooters: what precautions should be taken?

Niños y patinetes eléctricos: ¿qué precauciones se deben tomar?


The number of electric scooter users increases year after year and children are not an exception. At what age can children use an electric scooter? Can my child ride as a passenger? Here we resolve some of the main doubts and list a series of precautions that need to be considered. 

Scooters are personal mobility vehicles. As stated by the Traffic Department (DGT) itself, they are vehicles with one or more wheels, equipped for one person and powered exclusively by electric motors that can provide the vehicle with a maximum design speed of between 6 and 25 km/h. This definition clarifies that we are talking about one person vehicles. In fact, manufacturers also indicate this in their user guides. Two passengers must not travel on the same scooter under any circumstance, that is, an adult must not ride with a child as a passenger. This image, that we have all seen on some occasion, is completely forbidden. 

At what age can a child use an electric scooter? In general terms, children under the age of 16 are recommended not to use them. In any case, you must check the rules in each country. In Spain, each town establishes the minimum age, which varies from one town to another. If used in closed facilities, the age can drop with adult supervision.

We remind you that electric scooter users are not allowed to drive on pavements or in pedestrian areas. They have to comply with traffic regulations like all other vehicles and are not allowed to drive on intercity roads, crossings, as well as motorways and highways that cross towns or in urban tunnels. Riders must not use head phones or mobile phones and they are obliged to undergo alcohol tests. 

Orthopedic surgeons at the Hospital Sant Joan de Déu Barcelona and Hospital del Mar warn that one out of every five children and young people injured in accidents involving electric scooters are under 9 years of age and were traveling with an adult, in other words, as passengers. On top of this most of them were not wearing a helmet or any other protection. The rest of the minors admitted, between 9 and 18 years old, were riding the scooter and injured when falling (42 to 45) or crashed against another vehicle (3 cases). 

This is the data recorded at the aforementioned hospital between February 2019 and February 2020. The study also reveals that in 58% of cases, children or young people treated for traumatic injuries (35 out of 60) had to be admitted as a result of the injuries and that almost half of these (17) required surgery.

For all these reasons, riders are warned not to take children as passengers on scooters under any circumstance. 

We must be aware that, no matter how short the journey, it can end in an accident causing injuries and fractures. Experts agree that a lot of parents use this means of transport to take their children to school or to move around the city, and they do so without the appropriate protection. We must remember that an electric scooter is not a toy, it's a means of transport and, as such, must comply with all traffic rules.

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