How new Swedish government bill plans to crack down on e-scooters

The Swedish government wants to ban the parking of electric scooters on pavements and bicycle lanes unless there are designated parking spaces.

How new Swedish government bill plans to crack down on e-scooters
A scooter parking station in Stockholm. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

If approved, the government’s bill would come into force on August 1st.

The scooters have been hailed as environmentally friendly, fun and a major part of the growing sharing economy in a tech-loving country such as Sweden, but their popularity has not come without side effects.

Complaints have been raised about e-scooters strewn across pavements – an eyesore as well as an obstacle for wheelchair users or parents with baby strollers – and an increase in accidents as their use has grown.

The Local asked our readers in 2019 what their opinion on electric scooters was in a survey. More than 100 people responded, with 46 percent thinking they are “great” and 44 percent “annoying and/or unsafe”. Around 10 percent said they had no opinion.

The government said it hoped that the new bill would reduce the impact electric scooters have on traffic, while making sure that they can still exist alongside other forms of transport.

“It’s about giving municipalities a few more muscles on top of those which already exist, in order to make sure that electric scooters exist as a good complement, but there should be order,” infrastructure minister Tomas Eneroth told Swedish public radio broadcaster SR Ekot.

The bill would make it easier for municipalities to move scooters parked incorrectly and enable them to charge scooter companies a fine for the service.

“Municipalities can either choose to collect scooters parked incorrectly, or require electric scooter companies to do so, so they are placed in a specified area,” explained Eneroth.

Scooters are often left on pavements in the way of pedestrians. Photo: Veronica Johansson/TT

Eneroth further told Ekot that, although this new bill could potentially change one of the draws of the scooters – namely the fact that they can be parked wherever the rider stops – it could prevent the public calling for a complete ban on the scooters in the future.

“I think you can still leave the scooters where you stop, but it will be important that they are collected at special locations. I think with the disorder we have had, not least in Stockholm, the risk is greater than people get so tired of electric scooters that they start to call for a national ban, and I don’t want to see that,” he said.

Stockholm-based readers in particular responded to The Local’s survey in 2019 that the city was getting too crowded. Many meant this in a dual sense: more and more e-scooter businesses filling up pavements as well as the business market.

“These companies need to get it together – they’ve established themselves often on the back of aggressive marketing, in a way which has caused great concern. These electric scooter companies need to understand that they have a responsibility, otherwise there’s an obvious risk that stricter rules or bans will be on the agenda, and I don’t want that. I don’t think they want that either,” Eneroth told Ekot.

Eneroth, while also noting their positive qualities, has previously described the lack of regulations and heaps of toppled-over scooters as “a mess”.

Member comments

  1. As a cyclist I find that they are a royal pain, often coming across them strewn across a cycle path and having to last minute swerve out of the way, not always an easy feat in the dark. Users also cannot indicate when they want to turn right or left.

    1. You can indicate turning left and right exactly the same as you do on a bike? Its done all the time….

      Peoples inability to put them in a corner or at the side is a pain in the ass though…

  2. Scooter companies will comply with the absolute minimum required. They are all about profit and nothing else. The companies must be held accountable as their riders are often too young and immature to consider the needs of others. A ban is not necessary. If the municipal requirements become too costly the scooter company will simply collect their scooters and move on… Good riddance!

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Why a Swedish price comparison site is suing Google

A Swedish price comparison site has launched a billion-euro lawsuit against Google, in a row over search results.

Why a Swedish price comparison site is suing Google
Swedish company PriceRunner is seeking damages from Google. Photo: AP Photo/Michel Euler

PriceRunner said on Monday it was suing tech giant Google for 2.1 billion euros ($2.4 billion) for promoting its own shopping comparisons in search results.

Europe has cracked down on the business practices of Big Tech in recent years, while the EU is moving forward with legislation to tighten regulation.

US behemoths are facing facing fines and legal challenges in many European nations.

The Swedish tech startup said it expected the “final damages amount of the lawsuit to be significantly higher”, given that “the violation is still ongoing”.

Chief executive Mikael Lindahl said the lawsuit was also a fight “for consumers who have suffered tremendously from Google’s infringement of the competition law for the past fourteen years and still today”.

The Swedish tech startup filed its suit with the Patent and Market Court in Stockholm after the European Union General Court ruled that Google “breached EU antitrust laws by manipulating search results in favour of their own comparison shopping services”.

In November, the EU court upheld a 2.4-billion-euro fine the European Commission had slapped on Google in 2017, saying results from Google’s own comparison service were “displayed in a more eye-catching manner”.

PriceRunner said it was seeking damages for profits it lost in Britain since 2008 as well as in Sweden and Denmark since 2013.

PriceRunner said Google had a “monopoly-like position” within the European Economic Area (EU plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway), with over 90 percent of the market share for internet search engines.

The price comparison site is based in Sweden but also operates in Denmark, Norway and the UK. It has previously said it plans to expand to more countries.

In November, Swedish fintech Klarna bought PriceRunner for an undisclosed sum, with media reports putting the price at over $1 billion.