Italy updates Highway Code with new Rules of the Road

Italy puts the brakes on electric scooters as it updates its rules of the road. Here are some of the main points.

Italy has updated its Highway Code with the new rules of the road coming into force from 10 November.

The most significant changes concern electric scooters, a mode of transport that has boomed in Italy over the last couple of years, not without controversy.

E-scooter users will no longer be allowed to travel on pavements and neither will they be permitted to park on sidewalks or travel in the wrong direction down one-way streets.

The maximum speed of electric scooters has also been curtailed, with the new limit reduced from 25 km/h to 20km/h on roads (staying at 6 km/h in pedestrian areas), with those under 14 required to wear a helmet.

There had been debate in parliament about prohibiting minors from using e-scooters and forcing adults to wear helmets but this has fallen by the wayside.

The question of insurance for privately-owned electric scooters has also been put on the long finger and will be up for discussion again next May.

E-scooter users remain prohibited from carrying passengers - a widely flouted rule in Rome - an offence which carries a €50 fine.

What else changes?

There are new rules for pedestrian crossings: priority must be given to the pedestrian even if they are about to cross, not only if they are already on the zebra crossing.

The penalties for mobile phone use while driving have been extended to include those who take their hands off the wheel to use laptops, tablets or other electrical devices.

Motorcycle drivers are liable for fines if their passenger, even a minor, is not wearing a helmet.

There are increased fines too for parking illegally in places reserved for recharging electric cars, or in pink parking spaces reserved for pregnant women and parents with children up to three years old.

Motorists who occupy parking spaces reserved for people with disabilities will face fines of between €168 and €672, with the offence now resulting in six penalty points on a driver's license, up from two.

From 1 January 2022, holders of the disabled pass will be able to park free of charge in paid parking spaces or carparks if the spaces reserved for them are occupied or unavailable.

Other changes in Italy's newly-updated Highway Code include increased fines for motorists who throw rubbish from their vehicle.

Italy has also brought in measures to ban advertising on streets and on vehicles that is discriminatory against women, gay people, ethnic and religious groups or people with disabilities, or that causes offence in relation to gender identity or sexual orientation.

Photo credit: Gennaro Leonardi / Shutterstock.com.