A permit is needed for those who use the e-scooter on designated streets, bicycle paths or sidewalks Image Credit: Clint Egbert/Gulf News

Dubai: Users of e-scooters in Dubai can start applying for free driving permits beginning April 28, the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) announced on Tuesday.

The RTA had earlier announced that a driving permit is mandatory “for those who use the scooter on designated streets, and in places other than the streets, such as bicycle paths or on sidewalks.”

The traffic permit can be obtained through an electronic platform launched by RTA on its website that allows the public to obtain free permits, which qualify them “to use this type of flexible transportation”, it added.

Minimum age

Obtaining the permit requires passing the awareness training course available on RTA’s website. The user of e-scooter should not be less than 16 years.

According to the RTA, “the training course includes lessons on the technical specifications and standards of scooters and users’ obligations, in addition to the areas allowed to use the scooter. The course also deals with the definition of the associated traffic signs and signs related scooters”.

Avoid fines

Using an electric scooter without obtaining a driving permit is a traffic violation punishable by law with a fine of Dh200. Exempted from obtaining a permit are those who have a valid UAE driver’s license and those with an international driver’s license or a motorcycle license.

RTA said: “The introduction of these regulations is an implementation of the Dubai Executive Council’s Resolution No 13 for 2022 endorsed by Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, Chairman of the Executive Council, governing the use of e-scooters in Dubai. It supports the efforts to transform Dubai into bicycle-friendly city and encourages residents and visitors to use alternative mobility means.”

Where e-scooters are allowed

Trial operation of e-scooters was first introduced back in October 2020. They are allowed in 10 districts in Dubai and well as designated cycling lanes at Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Boulevard, Jumeirah Lakes Towers, Dubai Internet City, Al Rigga, 2nd of December Street, Palm Jumeirah, City Walk, in addition to safe roads at Al Qusais, Al Mankhool and Al Karama. E-scooters are also permitted at all cycling and scooter lanes across Dubai, except for the cycling tracks at Saih Assalam, Al Qudra and Meydan.

RTA said: “The selection of these areas and lanes was based on specific criteria such as the high population density, special development zones, areas served by metro stations and mass transit means, the availability of integrated infrastructure, and high-traffic safety areas.”

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Police warning

In a previous interview, Dubai Police had told Gulf News that they would enforce the law on e-scooters, especially those who drive against the flow of traffic or on pavements in markets and narrow roads as they endanger their lives and those of others. Police said that e-scooters should always be operated on designated tracks and not on the main roads.

Rules at a glance

1. The speed of e-scooters must be limited to a maximum of 20km/hr.

2. E-scooters must have headlights and tail-lights.

3. There should be a device for sounding a warning (i.e. similar to car horns and bicycle bells).

4. E-scooters should have functional wheels.

5. Brakes must be present on the front and rear wheels.

6. They must be built to withstand the extreme weather conditions of the UAE.

7. They must meet the requirements, technical specifications and standards set by the competent authorities.