Electric scooter death case downgraded to misdemeanour from homicide

THE first fatal accident caused by an electric scooter in Spain will result, at most, in the payment of a fine. 

The rider of the scooter faces a charge of a reckless misdemeanour, which does not carry a prison sentence. 

One of the key reasons the accident is considered a misdemeanour is that he was driving at less than 10 kilometres an hour. 

On August 13 last year, Berta, a 90-year-old woman, was walking with the help of a frame along the Rambla del Carme, in Esplugues de Llobregat (Barcelona). She was returning home after her usual morning walk when she was hit from behind by an electric scooter carrying two people. It was driven by 19-year-old Alexi. 

Berta fell and hit her head on the ground suffering an internal haemorrhage. A few hours later she died in hospital. The Directorate General of Traffic (DGT) confirmed after the incident that it was the first known death of a pedestrian by being hit by an electric scooter. 
Berta’s death accelerated the debate on the need to regulate personal mobility vehicles, which have become an alternative to cars and public transport especially in crowded cities. 

A court in Esplugues began investigating the incident as an alleged crime of reckless homicide. The young man testified before the judge and acknowledged the facts, which “are not the subject of controversy.” 

According to the court’s instruction, the boy was consulting his mobile phone when he ran over the old woman. That’s why it’s called recklessness. Immediately after the attack, he tried to help the woman. In the following days, he returned to the Rambla del Carme to look for Berta’s relatives and apologise to them. 

Alexi’s defence asked for the case to be filed because they understood that there was no crime of any kind because there was no recklessness. The Public Prosecutor’s Office objected to this request and took the opportunity to establish its criteria in the case: taking into account the circumstances, there is a misdemeanour for “less serious recklessness.” 

The penalty envisaged for anyone who “for less serious negligence causes the death of another” is the payment of a fine – with a daily quota set in case of conviction from three to 18 months. 

The Esplugues judge refused to shelve the matter, but has said it will continue as a misdemeanour rather than homicide case. 

and has recently issued an order in which she directs the process by way of the misdemeanour. 

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Written by

Dilip Kuner

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