Briefing

Germany passes law allowing e-scooters, clears way for competition between EU & U.S. firms

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Anyone over 14 years of age will be able to use the scooters without a helmet. The law will come into force in June. (Bloomberg)

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Talking point: Germany put scooter companies through the ringer on regulation. The German cycling association successfully pushed for a ban on scooter use on sidewalks—which was granted—and called for a low speed limit, for which the maximum was set at 20 kilometres per hour. Swedish mobility startup Voi had to build a special scooter to be able to enter the market. Now that Europe’s largest market is open, the real question is who will dominate it: U.S. companies Bird and Lime with their growing global ambitions, or the increasing number of European startups edging to get in on the market. The European players have raised a combined US$150 million in investment, less than either Bird or Lime individually. But that may not matter, because the big two are distracted. Lime is focused on eating into Bird’s market share in the U.S. and looking to expand in Asia. Bird said it’s “looking forward” to expanding to Germany, but it’s in the midst of a global retrenchment.