Rome's electric scooters: crashes and modified motors

E-scooters making headlines for all the wrong reasons in Rome.

Rome's electric scooters, promoted strongly by the city as a sustainable form of transport, are increasingly popular with commuters, tourists and young people.

Sales are booming and over the last couple of weeks the city has welcomed the launch of four foreign e-scooter rental companies who have flooded the streets of the capital with an initial 4,000 scooters, with plans to raise this number fourfold in the near future.

However the growing popularity of privately-owned and rented e-scooters has been matched by increasingly bad headlines in the capital.

Faced with rising problems in relation to cases of pedestrians being knocked down by e-scooters, as well as the vehicles being vandalised or thrown on the ground, electric scooter sharing companies are now sending representatives to "hotspots" such as Via del Corso and Via dei Fori Imperiali in the city centre.

Their role, reports Italian newspaper La Repubblica, is to "educate" users on rules of the road, including how to park and reminding drivers that they are not permitted to carry passengers.

Meanwhile another controversy has broken out after Italian satirical television programme Striscia la Notizia uncovered the illegal practice of modifying scooters' electric motors to make them go faster than the prohibited maximum speed of 25km per hour.

The show discovered two shops in Rome offering the illegal service of modifying e-scooters to unlock the speed control mechanism, making them almost as fast as a moped.

Both shops admitted they were fully aware that the practice was illegal. However when the shopkeepers were confronted later by Striscia la notizia, they initially tried to deny the evidence before promising to discontinue the practice. Watch here.

Photo La Repubblica