Israel cracks down on remote e-scooter unlocking for unauthorised and underage riders

  • January 21, 2021

Israel’s National Road Safety Authority is demanding changes to the way e-scooter hire apps verify users and rider age following investigations of fatal collisions that revealed several gaps.  In a press release issued in December the NRSA said it had written to Lime, Wind and Bird, the main operators in Israel, calling for changes – and the companies had responded positively.

The authority told ETSC that post-collision investigations had revealed several flaws with e-scooter sharing apps, notably:

  • As a new subscriber, it was easy to register using a fake driver’s license that could be downloaded from the Internet. Neither the ID number of the driver nor the expiration date were validated. A false ID number such as 123456789, for example, was accepted.
  • The terms of use were not displayed to a new subscriber and it was not mandatory to approve them.
  • There was no restriction on unlocking a scooter for another person (riding under a different user profile) or multiple users (group riding).
  • It was possible for a registered legal subscriber to unlock a scooter remotely thereby providing the ability for another person who was standing near the scooter to use it. This was achieved simply by taking a photo of the scooter’s barcode and sending it to the subscriber via a mobile phone message. NRSA succeeded in unlocking scooters in the Netherlands, Australia and the USA from their office in Jerusalem.
  • There was no mechanism for automatic locking of the scooter at the end of the ride in case the subscriber / rider forgot to lock it.

NRSA says it hopes the changes will be applied worldwide.