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Brazil: City of São Paulo Enacts Decree Regulating Use of Electric Scooters

(May 23, 2019) After a series of accidents involving electric scooters (patinete elétrica), the mayor of the city of São Paulo on May 13, 2019, enacted Decree No. 58,750. This Decree provides for the provisional regulation of sharing services and use of both electric and nonelectric self-propelled personal mobility equipment, scooters, cycles, and similar equipment that are operated by digital platforms in the city of São Paulo. (Legislação Municipal, Prefeitura de São Paulo, Decreto No. 58.750, de 13 de Maio de 2019, São Paulo Mayor’s Office website.)

Decree No. 58,750 determines that companies providing these services must register with the Municipal Department of Mobility and Transportation and prove that their operational structure complies with the rules established in Decree No. 58,750 and regulatory ordinances. (Id. art. 2.) The operational structure includes employees; equipment to be made available to users; infrastructure to collect, perform corrective and preventive maintenance on equipment and attend to users in the event of accidents or equipment failure; and places to collect and store equipment. (Id. art. 2(sole para.).)

The Decree defines the obligations of such companies, which include, but are not limited to, providing users with safety instructions; proving that the company holds civil liability insurance to cover any damages caused to third parties or public assets arising from the use of individual mobility equipment; bearing all damages arising from the rendering of the service, even if generated by a fortuitous event, force majeure, or the deceit or fault of users; and providing data on users in response to requests by the municipal or public security organs investigating crimes, misdemeanors, or accidents. (Id. art. 3.) It also holds the operating companies responsible for providing the necessary equipment for the safety of users, including mandatory certified helmets. (Id. arts. 4 & 7(§ 3).)

The use of self-propelled personal mobility equipment, such as scooters and the like, even if electric, as well as mopeds, electric cycles, and similar equipment, must comply with the traffic rules contained in Resolution Nos. 315/2009 and 465/2013 of the National Traffic Council (CONTRAN) and in the Brazilian Traffic Code and other pertinent legislation, in addition to the provisions of Decree No. 58,750. (Id. art. 7.)

The use of the means of transportation specified in Decree No. 58,750 is allowed only on public roads, bicycle lanes, and cycle paths, with a maximum speed of 20 kph (12 mph). The use of such equipment on sidewalks is prohibited. Equipment parked on sidewalks by users must allow the free movement of pedestrians. It is forbidden to operate the equipment on roads at a speed greater than 40 kph (24 mph). (Id. art. 8.)

The Traffic Authority and agents of the municipal government are to supervise compliance with the provisions of Decree No. 58,750 and other norms of traffic legislation, with the support of the Metropolitan Civil Guard. (Id. art. 10.)

Decree No. 58,750 lists the penalties to be imposed on companies for failing to comply with the obligations set forth in article 3, which includes fines ranging from 100,000 Brazilian reals (R$) (about US$25.00) to R$20,000 (about US$5,000), as well as the loss of license to operate the business. (Id. art. 11.)