The Brussels government has decided to submit speed pedelecs to the same regime as conventional mopeds for Carfree Sunday (17/09) and therefore not to allow them to enter the Belgian capital next Sunday. Both LEVA-EU and LEVA-EU member Stromer have written to the Brussels Mobility Minister, Pascal Smet. They made an appeal to recognize speed pedelecs as a sustainable transport mode and to withdraw the decision.
In an open letter, LEVA-EU stated: “We do not understand on which arguments this decision is based. We find the decision unfounded because the speed pedelec is a sustainable transport mode that can replace large numbers of car trips and that can contribute to public health in different ways.”
LEVA-EU pointed out that the EU member states, including Belgium, had made a mistake when in 2013 they categorized the speed pedelec in technical regulations as mopeds. This wrong decision was made at a time when there were still very few speed pedelecs on the road.
Recently, the Belgian government has made some attempts to remedy this error by creating within the traffic code a special category for speed pedelecs. LEVA-EU pointed out that the decision to ban speed pedelecs from Carfree Sunday meant that the Brussels government is disregarding that categorization and unjustly categorizes speed pedelecs as conventional mopeds.
LEVA-EU added that the decision could not be reconciled with a policy that is sincerely trying to find ways to make mobility more sustainable. In the meantime, speed pedelecs have sufficiently proven to be one of the solutions. Flemish people working in Brussels live on average 30 km away from work, which is a feasible distance for speed pedelecs.
Finally, LEVA-EU explicitly asked to withdraw the decision because it gave the wrong signal about speed pedelecs. LEVA-EU also invited the Minister to test a speed pedelec for a longer period to experience the many advantages it offers.
Stromer Vice President Sales, Tomi Viiala, explained in his letter to the Minister how Stromer continuously works on facilitating a mental shift and turning commuting into a positive, rewarding experience.
He pointed out that Switzerland has similar events in which speed pedelecs are always allowed, because the Swiss government acknowledges the big advantages of this means of transport. Viiala suggested to have a meeting to explain to the Minister how speed pedelecs can help to solve traffic problems. He concluded: “Maybe next year you will allow speed pedelecs and show that the government in Belgium is ahead of its time when it comes to sustainable mobility.”