As of July 1, 2022, new federal laws for the use of e-scooters in Belgium came into place. In the Brussels Capital Region, even stricter measures have been implemented to protect pedestrians. The changes are part of an effort to address concerns over road safety and hindrance linked to the increasing use of e-scooters.
To address the concerns over e-scooter safety new regulation was required. Georges Gilkinet, Federal Minister of Mobility, explained: “The world has changed and so has our mobility. The electric scooter is now part of our daily life. But with the increase in the number of accidents, sometimes with serious consequences, it was necessary to react. New rules will come into effect from 1 July to better protect scooter users and other road users. Let’s strive together for more safety and fewer accidents on our roads. All For Zero”.
The new rules:
The new rules mean that users of e-scooters, or any other micromobility transport method, will be assimilated to cyclists. In effect, riding on sidewalks or in pedestrianized areas is no longer permitted. In situations where permitted, speed must be reduced to 5km/h and pedestrians have right of way.
Additionally, a minimum age requirement of 16 years has been introduced, and riding e-scooters with two or more passengers is prohibited. Alongside these changes, new guidance for e-scooter parking has been introduced, including signage for designated parking destinations, non-parking zones, and laws against obstruction of the sidewalk.
Additional rules in Brussels:
The new rules have also been welcomed in the Brussels-Capital Region. At the same time, the Region has introduced additional rules on the use of e-scooters. Elke Van den Brandt, Brussels Minister of Mobility, added: “Electric scooters are a convenient way to get around, as long as they do not hinder pedestrians and people with reduced mobility. That is too often the case now. Thousands of these shared scooters appeared on our streets and it is high time for stricter regulation. In addition to the federal rules, the Brussels-Capital Region decided to automatically limit the speed of scooters in pedestrian zones and to limit the number of scooters per operator.”
Specifically, e-scooters in pedestrianized zones are now limited to 8km/h, while across the entirety of the region, the top speed is limited to 20km/h. For comparison, the general top speed limitation of e-scooters in Europe is 25km/h.
Bart Dhondt, Mobility Councillor of the City of Brussels, stated: “Parents, their children, and people with mobility problems no longer felt comfortable in the pedestrian zone. By ensuring that the shared-use e-scooters can only travel at a walking pace, the pedestrian zone will once again become a space for everyone.”