What rules for personal motorised vehicles?

Electric scooters, gyropods or hoverboards – personal motorised vehicles (PMVs) are increasingly present in public spaces. This exponential growth has created a need to regulate their use and define insurance requirements. Since the publication of Decree No. 2019-1082 of 23 October 2019 in the Official Gazette, the use of personal motorised vehicles (PMVs) has been regulated.


Regulation of PMVs with regard to traffic


Drivers of PMVs must:

– Be at least 12 years old

– Not carry another passenger

– Not ride on the sidewalk (unless this is authorised by the mayors)

– Not exceed the maximum authorised speed of 25 km/hr



In urban areas, they must use bike lanes and paths where these exist (otherwise, they can travel on roads, where the maximum authorised speed is 50 km/hr but also pedestrian zones provided they drive at a moderate pace and do not obstruct pedestrians). At night (or during the day in case of poor visibility) and even in urban areas, they must henceforth wear retro-reflective clothing or equipment (jacket, armband, etc.). Curb parking is only possible if PMVs do not obstruct pedestrian traffic.

It should be noted that mayors of communes have the option of banning PMVs. As from 1 July 2020, personal motorised vehicles will also have to be equipped with front and rear lights, retro-reflective devices, brakes and a horn. The decree settles once and for all the question of PMV traffic in relation to the Highway Code.



Insurance regulations for PMVs


With regard to insurance regulations, the problem was already foreseen by the 1st European Directive of 1972, which imposed insurance against civil liability on a Community-wide basis (72/166/EEC). The characteristics of vehicles subject to the insurance requirements have thus defined since 1972, namely any motor vehicle according to the following definition:


Article 1: “For the purposes of this Directive: 1. “vehicle” means any motor vehicle intended for travel on land and propelled by mechanical power, but not running on rails, and any trailer, whether or not coupled.”


All personalised motor vehicles that come under the category of “motor vehicles” must be insured with at least vehicle liability insurance.



What are the risks in case of lack of insurance?


– From a criminal law standpoint: if a simple traffic check turns up a lack of insurance, you may be fined up to € 3,500.


– From a civil liability standpoint: if you cause an accident with a third party and you are not insured, the Compulsory Insurance Guarantee Fund (FGAO) will compensate the victims then pursue remedies against you. In 2018, the FGAO recovered € 32 million from the persons responsible out of a total of €153 million of compensation paid to the victims of road traffic accidents.


The cost of bodily injury compensation for third parties can be considerable. Overall injury for someone hurt by a PMV can run from several thousand to several million euros (it should be noted that the average cost of bodily injuries increases by 5-7% per year). Your insurance contract’s guarantee concerning third party bodily injury liability is unlimited.



How to insure yourself?


Most households have a comprehensive homeowners’ guarantee that contains a civil liability guarantee.



– Every contract has its own provisions concerning exclusions. If you rent a vehicle, you do not have to take out your own insurance – the vehicle renter takes care of this formality for you.


– With regard to your own personal injury, this is probably not covered by the vehicle renter. If you are the purchaser, you must contact your intermediary: for a private individual, your agent; for a company, your broker. These professionals will give you the best advice with a view to guaranteeing, in the best possible conditions, your civil liability or any damage to and/or the theft of these vehicles and/or any personal injury suffered by the driver.


(Art. R. 311 of the Highway Code)


Personal motorised vehicles must have the following characteristics:

– No seating positions

– Designed to carry a single person

– Equipped with a non-thermal motor or assistance

– Not modified in any way to transport goods

– Built-in minimum speed of 6 km/hr and maximum speed of 25 km/hr

They must also comply with the following maximum dimensions: width – 0.9 m; height – 1.35 m (Art. R. 312-10 and R. 312-11 of the Highway Code).