On 6 May, Breda (NL) welcomes LEV-users in demonstration against Dutch LEV-framework
221 days ago
Today, e-scooters and other light electric vehicles such as onewheels, hoverboards, etc. are not allowed on public roads in the Netherlands. The government has been brooding for years on a plan to allow them under very strict conditions provided they have a handlebar.
The Dutch Minister Harbers of the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management has recently indicated that it could take up to 2025 before Light Electric Vehicles (LEVs) such as the e-scooter are allowed on public road. They would first require a type-approval by RDW. The government wants to put e-scooters in the “special moped” category, a category that only exists in the Netherlands.
All the while, the user group Legaal Rijden (Riding Legally) has been pushing for a swift admission on public roads
Almost everywhere else in Europe, people can legally ride the LEV of their choice without the vehicle having to be type-approved. LEVs have the same legal status as a bicycle or e-bike in countries such as France, Spain, Italy, Luxembourg and Belgium. Furhtermore, riders can insure through their liability insurance.
Ministry of I&W and Lower House
Most members of the Lower House who deal with the new legislation have no idea what LEVs are. Most have never seen one up close, let alone ridden on one. Yet they compare LEVs to a Stint and dismiss them as dangerous in debates. (The Stint made the international news a few years ago following a fatal accident). The misconceptions may be caused by bad behaviour in the use of shared scooters. This has given e-scooters a bad image. The recent decision to retract shared e-scooters from the streets in Paris has added to this bad image. All this is unjustified since it is not the shared e-scooter that has caused inconvenience and accidents, but rather its users.
Legaal Rijden has repeatedly tried to inform the government and members of parliament about LEVs. Unfortunately, this has not been successful. The organization has the impression that the MPs are in a cheese bell with soundproof glass. No matter how loud they roar, it never gets through. Legaal rijden is also shocked at the fact that MPs only take information from one source (Ministry of I&W) and completely ignore the users of these vehicles.
LEVs without handlebars
The Ministry of I&W has provisionally excluded the Onewheel, EUC and the electric skateboard from the LEV framework. Further research should reveal whether these LEVs should be allowed on the road in the Netherlands. With these forms of transport, little inconvenience can be expected either. Someone on an electric skateboard can brake better than someone on a normal skateboard. There is also no invasion of these types of LEVs on the cycle path to be expected, and people who already use them drive very differently in traffic because of their vulnerability.
A representative poll by Legaalrijden.nl as well as an internet consultation by the Ministry of I&W has shown that a majority of LEV users wants to be able to buy their means of transport in conformity with the EU technical legislation, and not type-approved by RDW. Our poll also showed that there is a majority of 83% who want to insure their e-step or other LEVs like a bicycle. The government is ignoring this.
Time for action
So, according to Legaal Rijden, it’s time for action to draw attention to the legalisation of LEVs in the Netherlands. The municipality of Breda is offering Legaalrijden the opportunity to legally demonstrate on 6 May. That day, LEV-users will be able to express their opinions undisturbed while riding a 10-kilometre route.