Europe is the land of the moped. With all those narrow old town streets, almost non-existent parking and usually decent weather, it does make sense.
And with the growth in the digital economy, there has been a recent boom in the amount of scooter/moped rental apps available in Europe, especially in Spain. These are known as moto sharing, or eMoto apps.
Any visitor to Barcelona, Valencia, Madrid, Lisbon, Rome, Bordeaux, Toulouse or Paris might be temped to sign up and hop on. Well… Although these easy to use electric moped and scooter rentals are a great way to get around, it helps to know a few things first.
The classic image of a European whizzing around on a moped conjures up images of vespas in quaint cobbled streets. Today, the moped is available as an electric version, which is entirely un-lockable via an app.
Basically, you can be that cool European whizzing around on a modern version of a vespa. As they’re electric, they’re less polluting than petrol powered scooters, and they’re very easy to ride – as I’ll explain shortly.
And, as they are dockless, you’ll spot these moped rentals on street corners in many major European cities.
I’m currently based in Valencia, Spain, and the choice here for electric moped hire is quite substantial. The annoying thing for now is that there is no single app (like CityMapper in London) which shows you all of the moto sharing available options. Instead, you need to download each individual app and sign up for their service.
The main moto sharing services in Valencia and Barcelona are:
This isn’t even all of them… Add into the mix the on demand cab app, Cabify, which has electric scooter hire as an option and you’ll see that you could end up with a lot of apps on your phone.
So, how do you get started using these electric moped apps?
To register to use moto sharing apps, you’ll need a valid drivers licence and to be over 18. In Spain it doesn’t seem to be important if you have a licence that covers you for riding a scooter, so long as your licence is valid.
How it works is:
And that’s it. Once you’re set up, you’ll need to add a valid payment method in the app to get going. Yes, you can use a non-resident payment card, and on some of them you can use Google/Apple Pay and PayPal.
If you have a promo code for any moped app, you can add it when you add your payment details or later if you prefer.
Signing up for the first time? Get some free minutes/credit to get the hang of riding a moped in Barcelona, Valencia or other cities in France, Spain and Italy.
eCooltra – €10 free credit : FSBZJ
Acciona – 15 mins credit: WEF78985
Yego/Yugo – 15 free mins credit: KUXP0PYNXA
Cabify/Ride Movo – €3 discount : OLIL15
Short answer, very. There are no gears, just a simple throttle on handle and two brakes.
The lights come on automatically when you start the moped, so the only thing you need to familiarise yourself with is the horn and the indicators.
Getting the motor running is normally explained either on the bike itself, or in the app. Oh yes, and you can choose your app language so the instructions are in English (if you want).
Although it’s actually quite straightforward to get going on your moped, it’s good to know the rule of the road. In Valencia especially, the roads are a tangle of one way streets and getting from point A to point B as the crow flies can involve a fairly circuitous route.
I’d highly recommend looking at a map first before you get going. The streets are well signposted, especially for the main areas of interest.
Places like Barcelona, Bordeaux and Rome come with their own hazards such as crazy drivers, strong winds and potholed roads. Although the speed of these mopeds is limited to 50 kph, it’s strongly recommended you take it easy when you first start riding.
These common questions should help you with your electric moped in Valencia or Barcelona.
In general, you’ll pay around 25 cents per minute, but you can also buy packs which take the cost down to around 20 cents.
If you sign up for all of them and use the free minutes, you can even end up with a totally free moped hire for the duration of your holiday!
Park your scooter wherever you can when you arrive at your destination. Often this is on the pavement, but you may also spot parking bays for mopeds where you can squeeze in. Be considerate and don’t just park in the middle of the pavement or you’ll get evils from the locals.
Most of the moto sharing apps have a limited area which you can ride around, so no, you can’t pick it up from the airport and ride to town. Most of them cover an area in the centre of the city, meaning you can whizz to the beach and then back to your hotel before going out.
Yup. Most (but not all) of the electric mopeds come with two helmets so you can ride pillion.
Yes, of course you do. Don’t be silly.
You’re covered for third party damage, so if you cause a bit of damage to another vehicle you should be OK. The apps have a help section so consult this for more info if you do have a scape.
For more serious incidents, you will need to be sure that your insurance covers you for riding mopeds. This is a high risk activity, and if you’re not legally allowed to in your home country, you’ll most likely not be covered under your insurance.
Healthcare in Spain, France and Italy is very good (on a par, if not better than the UK’s NHS). British travellers need to remember that thanks to Brexit, your EHIC will no longer be valid from the end of 2020.
With the moto sharing apps having wide availability in many of the cities mentioned, they can be very handy if you’re a visiting or staying for an extended period.
Ride Yego (Yugo): Bordeaux, Barcelona, Valencia
Acciona Motosharing: Madrid, Milan, Lisbon, Valencia, Barcelona, Seville, Zaragoza
Blinkee: Valencia, Malta, Split (Croatia), Budapest and Pecs (Hungary), Stockholm (Sweden), Bucharest (Romania), Poland (28 cities incuding Warsaw, Krakow and Katowice).
Muving: Barcelona, Madrid, Valencia, Malaga, Seville, Cadiz, Cordoba, Zaragoza
eCooltra: Barcelona, Madrid, Valencia, Lisbon, Milan, Rome
In terms of design of moped, I love Yego/Yugo. They have a fleet of super cool mod style scooters which are also a pleasure to ride. However, they don’t have many of them in Valencia so they’re hard to track down.
I think eCooltra is the next best, with their scooters generally being quite nice to ride and not as speed limited as Acciona. Muving’s app is pretty horrible and topping up your credit is a pain in the butt…
But, they’re all very useful and it’s quite handy to have more than one of the apps installed in your phone. Sometimes you’ll have a glut of one brand and none of another, so options are good.
Remember to respect the local traffic laws and don’t do anything silly like drinking or driving.
What do you think of the motosharing services? Have you used them, or are you looking forward to checking them out? Let us know in the comments below…