Leva

Belgium Wheelers’ Petition for review micromobility speed limits

255 days ago

3 minutes

Belgium Wheelers is a Belgian association of users of so-called micromobility vehicles. This term refers to all vehicles without a seating position and to self-balancing vehicles, which are excluded from Regulation 168/2013. Technically, they fall under the Machinery Directive, while member states are competent for their terms of use.

Whilst some countries, among which the Netherlands and the UK, still prohibit most of these vehicles on public roads, Belgium has one of the most liberal policies on micromobility in the EU. All vehicles are allowed on public roads and enjoy the same terms of use as conventional (e)bikes. However, all vehicles must be limited to a maximum design speed of 25 km/h.

From their experience, the Belgium Wheelers conclude that this legislation “is not adapted to the technical features of these machines, nor is it in line with the reality on the ground.” They further argue that legal limitation of motor power or speed by construction may sometimes be a factor of danger rather than safety. For instance if the power proves to be insufficient for the weight of the rider, it can slow the vehicle down to a point that it cannot be ridden in a safe way anymore. Also, the Belgium Wheelers believe that aligning the vehicles with the speed limits of 30 km/h and 50 km/h on the road, will reduce the risk of collisions and accidents.

As a result, they have launched a petition to call for the introduction of two categories: one with a design speed of 30 km/h instead of 25 km/h and one of 50 km/h. The first one would be subject to the same terms of use as the 25 km/h vehicles today. The faster category would come with an AM driving licence, helmet obligation, registration and compulsory civil liability insurance.

Belgium Wheelers state: “This new category will allow for a wider public to have useful access to these devices, with sufficient power to allow use over longer distances and/or for a wider range of user sizes, which is not the case for machines with limited engine power or a maximum speed of 25 or 30km/h.

The petition is addressed to the Belgium House of Representatives and will be online until the end of the year. For the Parliament to debate the request, 25,000 signatures are required and the petition is still a long way off that result. You can find the petition here in French, Dutch and English: 55_2021-2022/2 – Aanpassing van de wetgeving inzake elektrische micromobiliteit apparaten – Pétitions – Petities (belgium.be)

Annick Roetynck

Annick is the Manager of LEVA-EU, with decades of experience in two-wheeled and light electric mobility.

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