Tag Archive: brussels

  1. Commuting upgrade: Brussels to Leuven cycling highway planned for 2025

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    Source: Mayor.eu, D. Balgaranov

    The new 16km highway (F29) will connect the two cities, providing a safer route for commuters to pursue more sustainable transportation options

    Recently announced by authorities in Belgium, a newly planned bicycle highway will connect the city of Leuven in Flanders to the country’s capital of Brussels. Many in the region already make the journey between the two cities as a part of their daily commute, thus, the project is likely to be positively received.

    The Flemish government aims to make the journey between the cities safer and faster, with construction starting next year and managed by The Werkvennootschap, a public works company. Additionally, the highway will link to the planned Brussels cycling ring, further connecting the wider city.

    Cycling Highways – a growing trend

    Bicycle highways have caught the attention of many governing bodies as of late, with projects announced across multiple regions. The infrastructure aims to handle the growing number of cycling commuters in a safe, efficient way. And, although most cities still do not have enough bike traffic to warrant the massive development, as Munich’s Deputy Mayor Katrin Habenschaden explained in a statement in May 2022: “If you sow cycling highways, you get cyclists.”

  2. 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.”

  3. 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.

  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. Next week: The first European micromobility meeting for PLEV users by non-profit organizations and user groups

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    This exciting event will take place on the last weekend of August, from Friday 26 August 2022 at 16:00 to Sunday 28 August 2022 at 16:00, in Brussels (Belgium), at the Tour and Taxis site, Avenue du Port 86 C, 1000 Brussels.

    The new meeting offers a place for discussions on micromobility, its assets, challenges, and developments for the future. The event is free to attend and open to all those interested.

    This event is the initiative of legal non-profit associations and user groups active on social networks and working for better European (micro-) mobility.

    Full details can be found via the event announcement on LinkedIn.

  7. European Commission slams provisional anti-dumping duties of up to 83.6% on e-bike imports from China

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    LEVA-EU and the Collective of Importers deeply regrets Brussels’ decision to impose provisional duties which may well deal a decisive blow to several European companies in the e-bike market, limiting consumer’s choice and forcing Europeans to foot the bill.

    A final decision on definitive duties, whether or not to be retroactively collected is expected around the end of this year. LEVA-EU and the Collective are determined to continue to fight this case. LEVA-EU Manager Annick Roetynck states: “This is only one battle lost,  we haven’t lost the war. From our first analysis, we conclude that the Regulation holds many inconsistencies and omissions. All these will be thoroughly addressed in the Collective’s official response to the Regulation.

    What’s happening? Following a complaint brought by the European Bicycle Manufacturer’s Association (EBMA) on 8 September, the European Commission opened an investigation into imports of e-bikes from China on 20 October 2017. This complaint as well as the procedure are heavily contested by a Collective of 22 importers, managed by LEVA-EU. Since 4 May 2018, the European Commission imposed the registration of all new e-bike imports with the competent custom authorities. The imposition of today’s provisional duties of up to 83.6% opens the door to definitive duties, that could be imposed around the end of this year and which may or may not be collected retroactively from the registration date onward.

    The Commission’s provisional duties are absurd as so far no evidence of dumping has been established:

    • The complainant has failed to prove any injury to the European e-bike industry. All so-called European manufacturers have seen double digit growth over the last few years and are bound to continue profiting from this expanding market.
    • Most e-bike components are imported from China, and then only assembled by European “manufacturers”. This assembly procedure amounts to €25 to €35, and that is the only difference between so-called European “manufacturers” and “importers”.

    The Commission will only decide if and what proportion shall be collected in its final decision. However the registration, which includes the threat of retroactive collections, already has a devastating effect on European e-bike businesses and on jobs, and will only be exacerbated by the provisional duties. Since the registration European importers are in turmoil, left with total uncertainty as to what to base on their short and longer term business plans. Many of these companies may find it difficult if not impossible to obtain the bank guarantee, necessary to avoid effective payment of provisional duties.

    Annick Roetynck, LEVA-EU Manager, said: “This is a clear case of abuse of trade defence instruments for protectionist reasons, and importers have been punished before a verdict has even been reached. This baseless and opaque procedure is severely injuring many small and medium sized European businesses as well as the growing e-bike market in Europe. We filed an application for annulment of the registration regulation with the General Court of the EU on Tuesday 10 July. Nevertheless, the Commission seems to be determined to go ahead with this procedure and working towards the impositions of definitive duties, despite having violated the importers’ due process on several occasions already.

    The Regulation on provisional duties is here: http://trade.ec.europa.eu/doclib/docs/2018/july/tradoc_157124.prov.en.L181-2018.pdf

  8. AVERE Electric Mobility Conference: 17 & 18 October – Brussels

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    AEC2018 is organized by AVERE and AVERE Belgium, with their continued presence in the electromobility arena for 40 years, with the experience and track-record from organizing the EVS, the most important international Electric Vehicle Conference in the world, with EVS30 in Stuttgart as the latest edition and the EVS31 in Kobe, Japan, as the next edition.

    Brussels will host the AVERE e-Mobility Conference 2018, which will present the current status quo in the field of electromobility, as well as a perspective on the future including policymaking, business, industrial and scientific developments.

    The conferences and presentations will be inspirational, demonstrating best practices and representing visionary approaches on electromobility by countries, cities and companies.

    The conference takes place on Wednesday 17 and Thursday 18 October in the Square in Brussels (B). On Thursday 18 October at 1.30 there will be a dedicated 1.5 hour session on light, electric vehicles. LEVA-EU is organizing this session and hopes to be able to reveal all the speakers very soon.

    Two of the five speakers on LEVs have confirmed: Susanne Balm, project leader of the Research Programme Urban Technology at Hogeschool van Amsterdam. She is carrying out research on the use of LEVs in logistics. Bram Rotthier is preparing a PhD on speed pedelecs at KU Leuven – Campus Gent and will talk about the study on the potential of LEVs and the new project related to the use of speed pedelecs for commuting, both commissioned by the Flemish government.

    LEVA-EU has partnered with AVERE for this conference. As a result, LEVA-EU is able to offer its members a reduced registration fee of € 420 instead of € 470. Contact us for the special promocode to enjoy this discount.  You can register here: AEC Registration, the conference website is here: https://aec-conference.eu/ 

    There will also be an exhibition on 17 and 18 October, which will be open to the public.  Further details for companies interested in participating are here: https://aec-conference.eu/partners/

    The AVERE VIP Access Card

    The first 400 guests that register to the AVERE E-Mobility Conference, in addition to all AEC2018 speakers, will be given an AVERE VIP Access Card for 2018/2019 which will give them unique benefits at all upcoming AVERE conferences  and events for the next year.

    At AEC2018, this will include access to the high level networking reception that will take place at the Brussels Town Hall on 17 October 2018 immediately after the first day of plenary sessions. The elegant and charming Town Hall will be the perfect spot to unwind and discuss the most interesting presentations from the first day and network with the high level EU policy makers and high-level industry speakers.

    VIP’s will also be able to use their Access Card to unlock exclusive benefits at the upcoming EVS32 taking place in Lyon, France on 19-22 May 2019.

  9. LEVA-EU participates in CCME Brussel’s press briefing

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    On 18 April, the Chinese Chamber of Commerce for Imports and Exports of Machinery and Electronic Products (CCCME) organized a press briefing in Brussels. CCCME reported on the meeting with the European Commission that took place earlier that day and explained the position of the Chinese E-bike industry in the dumping case.

    LEVA-EU attended the press briefing on behalf of the Collective of European Importers of Electric Bicycles. A select group of high-level journalist, mainly representing general press such as Politico, M-Lex, the Financial Times, de Telegraaf, …, asked a lot of questions. On behalf of the trade press, Bike Europe’s Deputy Editor in Chief, Jack Oortwijn, was atteding too.

    In the meantime, he has published an illuminating article on the Bike Europe website, see: http://www.bike-eu.com/laws-regulations/nieuws/2018/4/striking-issues-surface-in-china-e-bike-dumping-case-10133622 In this article, he quite correctly concludes that the issue of the Chinese statistics is the key issue in this case. EBMA is building its complaint on Chinese statistics, which they keep confidential because they obtained them by paying a fee.

    In the meantime, LEVA-EU has published a reaction on this on the EBMA-website to further clarify the issue. The response is as follows:

    “LEVA-EU was at the CCCME press briefing yesterday on behalf of the Collecitive of European Importers of Electric Bicycles. As a result, we would like to further clarify what was precisely said about Chinese export data. It is not quite correct that, as stated in the article, Chinese government regards the data as confidential. Under the Chinese 8 digit export code HS 87119010 (????? – diandongzixingche), there are general export statistics ????? – diandongzixingche, which means electric self-propelling vehicles. These statistics are not accurate to determine the export of electric bicycles, because they also include other electric self-propelling vehicles such as for instance monowheels, electric scooters, hoverboards, etc. Under the Chinese 10 digit export code HS 87119010, all details about the individual export transactions are available, such as name of exporter, type of product, export value, etc. It is this information under this 10 digit export code, which the Chinese government regards as confidential. There is nothing exceptional about this, Eurostat does not provide any commercial details on the general import statistics either.

    The problem that the Collective is confronted with is that EBMA is building the whole case on statistics under this 10 digit export code. EBMA claims that they have been able to obtain these statistics against a fee. This allegedly has allowed them to sift the statistics and present Chinese exports of electric bicycles only. However, EBMA claim that they cannot disclose the identity of the information provider because “it would be of significant disadvantage to the party providing the data“. EBMA further states: “Disclosure of the source would manifestly and irresponsibly expose an unrelated third party service provider to potential economic retaliation because it has provided data to EU complainants in this significant anti-dumping investigation.” The Collective has on several occasions requested the Commission to disclose the identity of the provider because that it is the only way to allow the Collective to check the statistics on which the EBMA is basing the whole case. All this raises the question as to how this “unrelated third party service provider” was able to obtain and sell information, which is classified in China. And another key question is: why not just using Eurostat-statistics, since Eurostat is the official data supplier of the European Union.

    Finally, in the article it is stated: ” there’s no cost difference between making e-bikes in China or in Europe”. This should be read as there is no difference in purchase price from assemblers in China or from Europe.”

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