Tag Archive: belgium

  1. Brussels’ ‘Car-Free Sunday’ leads to 90% drop in automobile-related pollution

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    Source: Mayor.eu, D. Balgaranov

    On 18th September 2022, Brussels instituted a no-cars Sunday as part of European Mobility Week. From 09:30 am to 19:00 pm, cars were prohibited from much of the city to prioritize walking, cycling, and public transport.

    Outside of cultural and holistic benefits, Bruxelles Environment, the city’s environment agency, measured a 90% reduction in nitrogen monoxide and nitrogen dioxide, both of which are toxic substances emitted by combustion engines. Additionally, the city saw significant drops in noise levels, again seeing an approximate 90% decrease in typically congested areas; this further demonstrates what modern urban planners have been suggesting in recent years, “cities are not noisy, cars are noisy

    Authorities point out that yearly emissions have been going down since 2019, by about 10% per year. However, there is still a long way to go, since according to the European Environment Agency, in 2018, Belgium registered around 8,900 deaths caused by air pollution.”

  2. Brussels-Capital Region municipality, Uccle, bans shared scooters

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    Source: Legaal Rijden, Peter

    Just south of the center of Brussels, residents have become increasingly frustrated with the nuisance of shared e-scooters, leading to a complete ban in the municipality.

    In Uccle, e-scooters have created major concerns due to the way in which riders were ditching their means of transport. Shared public spaces were overrun much to the frustration of city-dwellers, resulting in a complete ban on the shared micromobility fleets.

    The Brussels municipality has this week demanded by letter to the operators of shared scooters that the shared scooters must be removed from the streets within 10 days. They must also ensure that the shared scooters are no longer parked within the municipal boundaries. The new rules do not apply to private e-scooters and driving through the municipality on an e-scooter is still allowed.

    Belgium’s e-scooter and LEV legal backdrop continues to shift following the devices’ rise to popularity from 2018 onwards. In the last two years, bans have been placed on riders below the age of 16, the two-person riding of e-scooters, sidewalk riding, and limitations have been placed on speed in public areas. The latest development is another step toward Belgium finding a system that works for all citizens.

  3. E-bikers ride longer and more often – QWIC research

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    Research by e-bike brand, and LEVA-EU member, QWIC shows that e-bikers cycle further and more often than before they bought an e-bike. The research was conducted among 3318 QWIC owners from the Netherlands and Belgium. QWIC e-bikers have started to cycle an average of 55km more per week than they did before purchasing an e-bike. Many feel more energetic as a result and enjoy cycling more, even with a headwind.

    Source: QWIC

    ‘I cycle much more, my health has improved and I have already saved a lot of money’

    ‘I take the bike much quicker’

    Cycling further and more often
    Of all QWIC e-bikers, 1 in 5 (20%) cycle more than 100km per week on average. That’s 5,200 km per year. Which amounts to a bike ride from Amsterdam to the southernmost tip of Spain and back again. There are even e-bikers who cycle more than 300 km per week; they do this mainly to cover their commuting distance.

    ‘My commute has become much more pleasant and less stressful. I can now also determine much more precisely when I will arrive at work’

    ‘My well-being has improved, the daily ride back and forth to work is now me-time

    E-bikes as a healthy alternative
    QWIC users replace with their e-bike on average 86 km per week other means of transport such as cars, motorcycles, scooters, or public transport. The common motivation for this is health and being outdoors, getting more exercise, and having more fun. 

    European Mobility Week & Car Free Day
    QWIC conducted this research in the run-up to the European Mobility Week (Sept. 16 – 22), an initiative of the European Commission. During this week, sustainable urban mobility takes center stage, a theme QWIC strongly supports.

    September 22 is worldwide Car Free Day, the day when motorists are challenged to leave their cars at home and choose more sustainable transportation. Car Free Day is held in 46 countries and in more than 2,000 cities.

    QWIC ambition
    QWIC’s mission – ever since its founding 16 years ago – has been to accelerate the sustainable mobility revolution by getting more people on bikes and making them enjoy every ride. By developing high-quality and innovative electric bicycles, QWIC offers an enjoyable, active and healthy solution for everyday mobility.

  4. Registration opens for the Annual POLIS Conference

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    Source: POLIS

    Registrations have opened for the 2022 annual POLIS (cities and regions for transport innovation) conference. 30 Nov – 01 Dec, Brussels.

    Europe’s leading sustainable urban mobility event returns in 2022, hosted at the EGG Brussels between 30 November and 1 December. Across two days, the POLIS Conference will offer a mix of plenaries, parallel sessions, deep dives, and networking opportunities.

    Plenaries will be live-streamed, while the wider conference will run as an in-person event.

    Ticket registration can be accessed, here.

  5. New Brussels-specific e-scooter rules add stricter measures than those governing the country as a whole

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    Source: Eltis, M. Modijefsky

    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.”

  6. Registration opens for Flanders-based no car challenge

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    Source: 30dagenminderwagen

    This June, the Sustainable Mobility Network (Netwerk Duurzame Mobiliteit) invites residents across Belgium to join the 30-day no car challenge

    The scheme highlights four key reasons to get involved and leave the car parked throughout June.

    1. For health: Walking and cycling are great for both physical and mental health
    2. For adventure: Explore a new way of getting around, and discover new areas in your hometown
    3. For your wallet: As fuel prices rise, alternative transport methods are becoming more important
    4. For change: Choose a society with fewer CO2 emissions

    Already, 2,500 individuals have registered their interest in the scheme and will participate in June. Find the registration portal and get involved here.

  7. Research: Analysis of initial speed pedelec usage for commuting purposes in Flanders

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    Source: Transportation Research Interdisciplinary Perspectives

    New research by Herteleer et al. provides insight into commuter patterns in Flanders, Belgium

    The full research paper may be accessed here. The abstract below provides a synopsis of the researchers’ findings:

    “Speed pedelecs, pedal-powered two-wheelers with motor assistance up to 45 km/h, are relatively new vehicles for active travel on European roads, with Flanders at the forefront of adoption. Policies by European and national entities have allowed speed pedelecs to be used, yet the policies have been based on assumptions and modelling about speeds reached, rather than measured data. This paper presents an analysis of naturalistic speed pedelec behaviour by 98 individuals at 10 companies in Flanders, who logged commuting and leisure rides with smartphone GPS during three-week test periods as part of the 365SNEL project using fifteen-speed pedelecs, ranging in motor power from 250 W to 800 W. The cruising speed, the speed at which the largest distance is covered, and the 95th percentile (P95) speed (as a realistic maximum speed) are proposed as Key Performance Indicators to better evaluate speed pedelec behaviour. Cruising speeds for men were consistently higher than for women (mean values: men 38.2 km /h, women 33.5 km /h). For all participants, the mean commuting P95 speed of 40.1 km/h is 5 km/h below the expected 45 km/h, which points to potential over-regulation of speed pedelecs according to their expected maximum speed. Contrasting logged commuting cycling trips with leisure trips indicates that speed pedelecs can be characterised by their speed metrics, regardless of their travel purpose. Policymakers can therefore facilitate active travel with its commensurate physical and mental health benefits by investing in and designating routes for higher-speed (active) travel, and conversely reserve other routes for slower travel modes.

  8. Amslod establishes international presence with an Experience Center in Belgium

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    Source: nieuwsfiets

    The Dutch e-bike company takes a bold step to keep up with rapid brand development.

    On 12 March, Amslod opened the doors of its first Experience Center in Hasselt, Belgium. This is the Dutch brand’s first international expansion since its creation in 2015 and subsequent development throughout the Netherlands.  The Hasselt center will mark the 17th such site for Amslod, allowing them to connect directly with customers.

    Patrick van Wezenbeek, Sales Director at Amslod shares, “We are very proud that we were able to open the doors of our first e-bike test center in Belgium last weekend. Amslod is growing fast and we also see many opportunities in Belgium. As far as we are concerned, this store is the first of many.”

    At Amslod centers, customers can test and ride the brand’s e-bikes, allowing them to make the correct purchase for their lifestyle. Wezenbeek continues, “Testing an e-bike before purchasing is not only fun but also very important for the right choice. An e-bike is something personal. The right size, comfort, high or low entry, type of engine and support determine your preference. Amslod is 100% convinced that only you as a manufacturer can give the customer the best advice. Only our own e-bike experts know all the ins and outs of the Amslod e-bikes, down to the smallest detail. You simply cannot expect something like that from a dealer who has to sell multiple brands.” In addition, the centers act as a service and warranty department for customers, where skilled technicians can provide answers quickly face-to-face.

  9. Speed-Pedelec sales falter in Belgium and the Netherlands

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    Last year 11,863 speed-pedelecs were registered in Belgium. That is 3.3% less than in 2020 and 6.5% less than in 2019. From January to April, registrations made a giant leap of 41% compared to 2020. Strict Corona measures were still in force during that period and teleworking was mandatory. From June onwards there was a marked decline, which even attained -30% in September. As of October the decrease became less and in December there were more than 7% more speed-pedelecs registered than in December 2020.

    The Belgian trade association, Traxio, attributes the negative 2021-result mainly to bad summer weather. They also suggest that this niche may have reached saturation point. But the Corona crisis with mandatory working from home as well as the supply and transport problems in the sector will probably have played a role as well. Whether the Belgian speed pedelec market is effectively saturated will have to be seen from this year’s results.

    Last year, just under 50% of purchases were made in the name of private individuals, just under 15% in the name of companies and 35.6% through leasing. Belgium has been and still is the European market leader in the sale of speed-pedelecs, and this has several reasons.

    In the technical regulation (Regulation 168/2013), the European Union has categorized the speed-pedelec as a moped. And so, all Member States have slavishly copied that category in their traffic codes; all Member States except Belgium. Thanks to some visionary civil servants, the speed-pedelec in the Belgian traffic code is not put aside as a moped “full stop”, instead a separate category has been created: Moped Class P – Speed ​Pedelec. This made it possible to develop adapted traffic rules with new traffic signs which, by using the letter P, allow or exclude speed-pedelecs. In the main, speed-pedelecs are subject to the same rules as conventional bicycles. A very important element in the traffic rules is that speed-pedelecs are allowed on cycle paths.

    The categorization separate from conventional mopeds made it possible to subject the speed-pedelec to the same financial incentives as traditional (e)-bikes. In Belgium, you can enjoy a tax-free allowance of up to € 0.25 if you commute by bicycle, electric bicycle or speed-pedelec. This can result in a nice financial extra every year, free of tax and of social security. Sales are further boosted by advantageous leasing formulas through employers.

    The Dutch speed pedelec market is still very far behind the Belgian one. Last year, 3,970 speed-pedelecs were sold there, which is 12% less than in 2020. That number is spread over no fewer than 57 brands, which together have 198 models in house. The Top 10 brands, however, have a market share of 89%. The unbeaten market leader remains LEVA-EU member, Stromer, with 33%, followed by Riese & Müller with 20% and Sparta with 13%. The Top 3 of best-selling models are all Stromers.

    Meanwhile, Speedpedelec-Evolutie has calculated that a total of 27,538 speed pedelecs are currently riding on Dutch roads, with an average age of 3.7 years.

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