Scooters have descended upon Munich! And unlike the garish orange Obikes, these seem to be a welcome addition to self-transport around the city. And by that I mean people haven’t been throwing them in the river or putting them up trees (it’s a pretty low bar).
Anyways, a few weeks ago, the German parliament jumped on the E-Scooter train and approved the use of E-Scooters on public roads… which means the service is now up and running around the city! Here’s a quick guide on the different providers and how to use them.
— BORING LEGAL PART ABOUT USE OF ELECTRIC SCOOTERS —
- Scooters are to be used on cycle paths where one is available, and roads when one is not, but not on pavements
- Max speed limit of 20km/h (built in restrictors seem to prevent you from speeding anyway)
- Must be 14 years old
- No drivers/moped license required
- Helmets are not mandatory but advised
- Legal limit for drinking same as motorists but could be as low as 0.3 per thousand if the rider shows alcohol-related symptoms (just don’t drink and….scoot? Is that the right verb?)
You can check out all the legal info in German here.
NOTE: The individual scooter providers have their own rules including that you must be 18 and wear a helmet. It appears that to disobey these rules is not illegal, but could affect any insurance the company provides you with. We thus recommend that you follow the rules, and check them for yourselves before riding (we aren’t lawyers).
Getting Set Up with Munich’s New E-Scooters
At the moment, there are four providers for scooters around the city (undoubtedly more will follow). Each of them use their own app. They are…
OPTION #1: TIER (MVG)
OPTION #2: CIRC
OPTION #3: LIME
OPTION #4: Voi
From our experience, signing up is super easy: you simply download the app from your provider of choice, input credit/debit card details, read their brief safety info, and you’re ready to Scoot! (seriously that can’t be the right verb…)
In our brief experience, we haven’t noticed much difference in service from each of the providers and tend to just use which ever ones are around, although they differ slightly in no-park areas and minor features (CIRC scooters have a phone holder). Our suggestion would be to just sign up to them all (probably take 10 mins total) and use as is convenient.
How to Use Munich’s New Scooters
Step one: Find yourself a scooter in your area
Using your scooter provider’s app (remember, each company has their own, so it might be worth checking multiple), you can see the scooters in your local area on a handy map. There doesn’t appear to be a reserve option so you better hurry! Each of the scooters have info regarding the battery power remaining on the scooter.
Step two: Check you have the correct scooter
The app usually provides you with a number so you can check on the handlebars of the scooter whether it is the correct one. Most apps also have a little ring option wherein the scooter makes a short beeping noise. Alternatively, you can use the barcode scanner to scan the QR code on the scooter.
Step three: Check where you are going
On the app map it shows “no parking zones” highlighted in red. Check that you are able to park nearby where you want to go. We’d hate for you to get there and find you can’t park.
Step four: Unlock the scooter
By pressing the “START RIDE” button you unlock the scooter and can begin to use it.
The cost is €1 flat fee per ride, plus €0.15 per minute for Voi, €0.19 per minute for TIER, and €0.20 per minute for CIRC and LIME.
Step five: Riding
To ride the scooter, simply kick up the little stand, push off with one foot like you would a regular unpowered scooter. Once you are in motion use the throttle button on the right hand side to accelerate. The scooter will accelerate until it reaches roughly the 20 km/h (12mph) limit.
Depending on the model, the braking varies from scooter to scooter. Some have front and back handle brakes, whilst some have foot brakes on the rear wheel, or a combination of the two.
We’ve found that the 20km/h speed is roughly a leisurely cycling pace. We would advise keeping to one side on the cycle paths so cyclists who have somewhere to be can get by (the new law changes allowing scooters hasn’t been well received by everybody).
Step six: Locking up
When you arrive at your destination, park the scooter “responsibly” i.e. on the pavement, not blocking the path or any driveways, not in a river or up a tree.
Then you simply press the “END RIDE” button on the app. They usually send you a receipt for the journey via email, but the cost also appears on the app after you end the ride.
Then walk away without looking back like the badass scooter rider you were always meant to be. WARNING: Studies have shown that people who rider scooters are perceived as 187% more attractive. We’re not us saying that. Science is saying that. Sorry, Segway riders…
Happy Scooting! (okay it’s growing on us)