Yesterday I wrote about an Irish Government Minister’s plan to ban the sales of all Diesel and Petrol cars in Ireland by 2030. I didn’t mention the fact that I was actually an early adopter of Electric Vehicles because I felt that story was worthy of its own post. So here it is:
In late 2016 I ordered an Electric Skateboard from a US company called Boosted Boards. Unfortunately, sometime in later still in 2016, the Irish (Government) Department of Transport decided to effectively ban the use of these devices on Irish roads by updating the interpretation of the Road Traffic Act to basically blanket ban, any mechanically propelled vehicle that wasn’t passed as being roadworthy, registered, taxed and insured, from the Irish roads.
As soon as the board arrived, I contacted an official in the Department to see how I could go about registering and taxing it. The Department official informed me that it would not be possible to register the vehicle for use on the Irish Roads. When asked about my legal liability were I to use a Boosted Board, on the Irish roads, she told me that would be a matter for the Gardaí (Irish Police Force).
I also contacted several insurance companies to see about insuring the board. No one could help me. None of the insurance companies I contacted had ever hard of anyone trying to insure a “skateboard” and none were interested in taking on the business. Not wanting to be in breach of the Road Traffic Act or to waste the time of the police, I decided that it would be best to return my board to its manufacturer.
While I fully understand the need to regulate such devices, as Electric Skateboards, Scooters, ‘One Wheels’, etc., I find it pretty offensive to think that I had to suffer the financial loss of having to return an Electric Vehicle because one part of the Irish Government uncompromisingly decided that the use of EVs, such as my electric skateboard, should effectively be outlawed in this country, while another part of Government wants to ban the sale of all Petrol and Diesel engines by 2030 in favour of an all electric fleet of vehicles.
To add insult to injury, in the same month that I realised I’d have to return my Boosted Board, I was nearly run down by two different buses on two separate occasions, both of which had overtaken me dangerously (at two separate road junctions), and at considerable speed, as I cycled within the permissions of the rules of the road.
As I alluded to yesterday, if the Irish Government are actually serious about assessing alternative transportation options, to large metal boxes powered by combustion engines, then I really hope that they also deal with the very real and live issue of the unacceptably high current levels of dangerous driving on our roads today.
I also hope that any future thinking on the subject of transportation policy considers innovative new ways of getting around (e.g. via such light EVs as electric skateboards) as opportunities to get more large, Diesel and Petrol guzzling vehicles off the road, rather than apparently simply dismissing such options as a threat to all road users which should be banned.
This seems like a really crazy idiosyncrasy to me. Having to return my Boosted Board made me feel like I was being punished for being an early adopter who actually cares about the environment! What do you guys think? Would you commute to the office on an Electric Skateboard? How are these devices regulated in your country? Do you know anyone who uses ‘light’ EVs to get to work? Let me know in the comments or message me here directly!