Tag Archive: E-scooter

  1. Legalise e-scooters, says UK Transport Committee

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    In a report published today, E-scooters: pavement nuisance or transport innovation, the Parliamentary Committee says that e-scooters have the potential to offer a low cost, accessible and environmentally friendly alternative to the private car. 

    Whilst supporting the introduction and use of e-scooters, the Committee advises that current rental trials and any plans for legalisation should not be to the detriment of pedestrians, particularly disabled people.  

    The Committee calls for robust enforcement measures to eliminate pavement use of e-scooters, which the report says is dangerous and anti-social. If the Government supports the Committee’s recommendation and decides to legalise privately owned e-scooters, the law should clearly prohibit their use on pavements and ensure that such enforcement measures are effective in eliminating this behaviour.

    The Transport Committee further caveats its report by calling for a sensible and proportionate regulatory framework for the legal use of electric scooters, based firmly on evidence gained from current rental trials and from other countries. The current rental trials should allow important evidence and data to determine the best way to legally incorporate both rental and privately owned e-scooters within the UK’s transport mix.

    The Department for Transport must also encourage the use of e-scooters to replace short car journeys rather than walking and cycling. The Committee warns that it would be counter-productive if an uptake in e-scooters, whether rental or private, primarily replaced more active and healthy forms of travel and calls for the Department to continue promoting active travel as a key policy.

    All further details are here

  2. Commission Asks TRL to Revise Technical + Road Use Rules for ALL LEVs

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    On behalf of the European Commission, TRL has started an investigation into the appropriateness and accuracy of European rules governing light, electric vehicles. The Commission had announced this research at the LEVA-EU symposium in February but then seemed to indicate that the scope would be limited to “Personal Mobility Devices”, i.e. e-scooters, self-balancing vehicles, monowheels, etc. The scope now appears to include all LEVs, which creates a unique opportunity to prove the need for fundamental change.

    Last February, LEVA-EU organised a symposium on the legal status and market position of the speed pedelec. This symposium, attended by the European Commission, clearly showed how European technical rules result in great difficulties for manufacturers and that the categorisation as L-vehicle create great safety risks for speed pedelec riders.

    Speed pedelecs are not the only LEVs suffering from inadequate and outdated rules. As electric cargo-bikes take up an ever increasing role in city logistics, the 250W limit to keep them out of the L-category becomes an ever increasing obstacle. There are legal bottlenecks for LEVs excluded from the L-category just as well. Some Member States, such as the Netherlands and the UK, still forbid e-scooters on public roads. Other Member States develop their own technical rules, thus undermining the principle of European harmonisation and the single market. The national terms of use for electric tricycles and quadricycles, excluded from the L-category are totally unclear and uncertain.

    E-scooters with saddles or very light mopeds, which are technically very similar if not identical to e-scooters without saddles are not excluded from the L-category. They are therefore subject to an extremely complicated, expensive though inaccurate type-approval, upon which they are subject to the terms of use for conventional mopeds including the wear of a motorcycle helmet.

    The only LEV to enjoy a much better regulatory framework is the electric bicycle with pedal assistance up to 25 km/h and 250W. This vehicle has been excluded from the L-category, as a result of which it became subject to the Machinery Directive. This has allowed for the harmonised standard EN 15194, whilst all member states have given this e-bike the same legal status as conventional bicycles. As a result, this market has been growing very steadily for several decades now.

    But to make mobility more sustainable and green, the EU needs a wider variety of LEVs. Markets, other than e-bikes 25 km/h-250W, such as speed pedelecs have only enjoyed a limited growth even though there is a clear potential. Or, the vehicles are under threat of very sudden and arbitrary changes in national rules that could suddenly destroy the market. The response of the Dutch government to the Stint accident is the best example of such threat. The insane penalties decreed by France for LEVs exceeding their speed limitation by construction is yet another sword of Damocles for the sector.

    LEVA-EU has been pleading and working for a fundamental change of the rules ever since its foundation. Without such change, the EU will never be able to achieve its Green Deal’s objectives, which include a 90% GHG emission reduction by 2050.

    At the February symposium, the EC representative announced the Commission’s intention to order a study on how LEVs, such as e-scooters and self-balancing vehicles (PMDs) could be included in the type-approval. This study has very recently been initiated by TRL and its scope appears to be broader than what the Commission announced in February.

    TRL is calling on all LEV stakeholders for their input. TRL is interested “to hear about the effects of national and regional regulations on the safety of, and market for, PMDs. We are also interested to hear any ideas that stakeholders might have for the best ways in which new and existing PMDs could be regulated in order to safely and efficiently integrate them into road use. We understand that the scope of this project includes vehicles that might already be type approved in the L category, e.g. cycles designed to pedal and cargo bikes and we are therefore open to suggestions regarding any improvements that could be made to that system.

    LEVA-EU is extremely pleased with this widened scope that allows for research into the accuracy of the rules, not only for PMDs such as e-scooters and self-balancing vehicles but also speed pedelecs, electric cargo-bikes, electric bikes with more than 250W (L1e-A), etc. Further good news is the fact that TRL is not only going to consider technical regulations but also road circulation measures to ensure the safe deployment of these machines in the EU and the effect of regulation on the PMD market in the EU. Current problems are to a large part resulting from the fact that Regulation 168/2013 was designed without any consideration as to the effect of the technical categorisation on the terms of use for the vehicles.

    LEVA-EU herewith calls upon ALL stakeholders concerned to state their views on current LEV-regulations as well as their proposals for improving the rules. TRL is currently collecting input and plans a webinar some time in September.

    For all further details, please contact LEVA-EU Manager Annick Roetynck, tel. + 32 9 233 60 05, email annick@leva-eu.com.

  3. UK allows E-Scooters and E-Mopeds without Type-Approval

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    Since 4 July, the UK allows for trials with e-scooters on public roads. However, their change in national legislation is such that not only e-scooters but also light electric mopeds without type-approval are allowed. This is in breach of current EU legislation but fully in line with LEVA-EU’s proposals to the European Commission. LEVA-EU works for an exclusion of all electric vehicles up to a certain speed and weight limit from type-approval.

    Despite the fact that e-scooters were booming in Europe, the Netherlands and the UK continued to deny these vehicles access to public roads. Due to the accident with the Stint, the Dutch government ended up in a permanent cramp with regard to regulations for e-scooters and other light electric vehicles (LEVs). The ban in the UK seemed primarily inspired by fear of the risks that e-scooters would pose to pedestrians.


    Ultimately, it was COVID-19 that convinced the British government. During the lockdown, numerous British cities took single-handed measures to facilitate and even encourage so-called active travel. Although the lockdown is over, COVID-19 continues to cause serious problems for public transport. E-scooters are a sustainable solution for shorter trips in the city, whilst observing social distancing.

    The British government made a U-turn by allowing trials with e-scooters since July 4. These large-scale projects must allow for a final decision on the legalization of the vehicles. Tests may be launched until August 20, 2020 and will run for 12 months. Meanwhile, the British Department for Transport (DfT) has published a guide with all the technical requirements and terms of use for e-scooters. It contains some remarkable elements.

    According to DfT, e-scooters have a road presence that is largely comparable to bicycles and electric bicycles up to 25 km/h (EPACs). They have similar dimensions and visibility for other road users. Although, for the time being, the e-scooters should be categorized as motor vehicles, the trial period will be used to investigate whether they should have the same legal status as EPACs. So, for now, users must have a motor vehicle insurance and at least an AM driving license. However, that could ultimately lapse, as is already the case in Belgium, for instance.

    With or without saddle

    And then there are the technical requirements for which the UK has decided to put aside European legislation and set its own course. The e-scooters may have a motor with a maximum continuous rated power of 500W. They must not weigh more than 55 kg, battery included, and not exceed 15.5 mph (+ 25 km / h). The biggest surprise, however, is the provision that the e-scooters may have a saddle.

    In the EU, e-scooters with saddle are in the scope of the L category and must therefore be type-approved as L1e-B “moped”. As a result of the British decision, not only e-scooters with a saddle without type approval are allowed on the road, but also all other two-wheeled vehicles that need to be type-approved in the EU, insofar as their speed, power and weight are limited and they don’t have pedals. It is striking that the power limit is set at 500 W, while for the time being EPACs are limited to 250 W in both the UK and Europe.

    Legal bottlenecks

    The UK has done exactly what LEVA-EU has been advocating vis-à-vis the European Commission. All LEVs up to a certain speed and weight, regardless of their technology, must be removed from the L-category. This will automatically bring the LEVs in the scope of the Machinery Directive and further technical requirements can be developed through harmonized standards, as is already the case for EPACs. The fact that this constitutes an efficient and safe legal framework is proven by the millions of EPACs now already on European roads without exceptional risks.

    On the other hand, LEVs that fall under the L-category hardly get off the ground. In L1e-A “powered cycles”, for example, the number of homologations is virtually non-existent. And the fact that everything above 250W belongs to the L-category also weighs heavily on the development of electric cargo bikes. Still, COVID-19 has also proved that these vehicles urgently need further development, all the more since they are a godsend to help decarbonise the logistics sector.

    On the other hand, there are currently a lot of e-scooters with saddles in the EU that are not type-approved and therefore illegal (see https://bit.ly/3gHVSQU) LEVA-EU is eagerly awaiting the results of the British trials, but continues in the meantime to urge the European Commission to quickly resolve the legal bottlenecks in European legislation.

    Below are the main requirements for e-scooters as listed in the DfT guide. The full version of the guide is here.

    Vehicle design: current position (art. 3.1.)

    An e-scooter will continue to fall within the statutory definition of a motor vehicle. DfT define the sub-category of an e-scooter as being a motor vehicle that:

    • Is fitted with no motor other than an electric motor with a maximum continuous power rating of 500W and is not fitted with pedals that are capable of propelling the vehicle.
    • Is designed to carry no more than one person.
    • Has a maximum speed not exceeding 15.5 mph.
    • Has 2 wheels, 1 front and 1 rear, aligned along the direction of travel.
    • Has a mass including the battery, but excluding the rider, not exceeding 55kg.
    • Has means of directional control via the use of handlebars that are mechanically linked to the steered wheel.
    • Has means of controlling the speed via hand controls and a power control that defaults to the ‘off’ position.

    Terms of use (art. 3.2.)

    • E-scooters in trials need to be covered by a motor vehicle insurance policy. Rental operators must ensure a policy is in place that covers users of the vehicles.
    • E-scooter users need to have at least a valid AM driving license.
    • Wearing a helmet is not mandatory but recommended.

    Use on the Road (art. 3.3.)

    • E-scooters are allowed to use the same road space as cycles and EAPCs.


  4. EU LEV market continues to grow and flourish

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    The 2019 results for the European light, electric vehicle (LEV) market show a sector that continues to grow and prosper in all its segments. This is largely due to the fact that LEVs are sustainable means of transport, which become more and more popular as a solution to escape congestion, to prevent further damage to our climate and, importantly, a fun way of moving around that has an overall positive impact on public health.

    The Corona-crisis has unexpectedly put that health benefit of LEVs even more in the spotlight. Unfortunately, among policymakers, especially at EU level, there is still a huge lack of awareness as to the potential contribution of LEVs in making transport more sustainable. LEVA-EU works tirelessly to raise that awareness, to encourage policy-makers to design policies and legislation that encourage LEVs as well as to remove the various legal bottlenecks, which continue to seriously hinder the market development and uptake of LEVs.

    Even though there is still a lack of consistent statistical material, LEVA-EU is meticulously gathering statistics from all available sources and has brought these statistics together in one clear document for its members. The main conclusions for 2019 are as follows.

    Electric bicycles

    Total e-bike sales for 2019 currently stand at 2,285 million, which is quite a bit lower than the almost 2.8 million sold in 2018. However, not all member states have published their final 2019 results. The final total is expected to be at least around 3 million.

    The biggest e-bike market is Germany where 1.36 million were sold last year, followed by the Netherlands, 423,000, and Belgium, 238,000. These are also the countries where e-bikes have the highest share in total bike sales, i.e. 31.5%, 42% and 51% respectively.

    The biggest market for speed pedelecs is Belgium with a total of 13,416 last year. Belgium is the only speed pedelec market that constantly grows. This is because Belgium is the only EU member states that has made special provisions to accommodate the speed pedelec in their traffic code (see https://bit.ly/2VVEvUW)

    Electric mopeds

    The biggest market in 2019 for electric mopeds was Belgium, with just about 16,000 registrations, i.e. almost 56% up. In 2019 there was still a subsidy for e-mopeds available, which unfortunately has been abandoned in the meantime. France is the second market with almost 14,000 registrations (+33.5%), followed by the Netherlands with just under 12,500 registrations (+52.6%).

    Finally, we also have a first statistic on the sales of Personal Light Electric Vehicles (PLEVs) such as e-scooters, self-balancing vehicles, e-monowheels, e-hoverboards and other PLEVs excluded from the L-category. In France, total sales reached more than 605,000 vehicles, that is “only” 5% more than in 2018, but 400% up since 2016.

    For more detailed statistics, please contact Annick Roetynck at LEVA-EU: annick@leva-eu.com, tel. +32 9 233 60 05.

    Photo by Tolu Olarewaju on Unsplash

  5. Green Light for Electric Micromobility Trial in Milan

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    Towards the end of 2019, the Municipality of Milan decided to take part in a micro-mobility national trial promoted by the Italian Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure. The installation of 130 road signs in the inner city centre is complete and shared e-scooters are available for residents and tourists to be used.

    The trial period will last until July 2021 and people using their own e-scooters will need to pay specific attention and respect clear cut rules. Traffic is permitted only along specific road segments; all vehicles, e-scooters, segways, hoverboards and single wheels, can circulate in pedestrian areas as long as the speed does not exceed 6 km/h, while only scooters and segways can circulate on cycle paths and in Zone 30, limiting the speed to 20 km/h.

    Read the entire article on Eltis’ website

    Photo credit: Markus Spiske

  6. LEVA-EU Briefing on Technical Rules for Batteries

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    LEVA-EU has a new briefing available  on the EU technical rules applying to batteries for light, electric vehicles, i.e. electric bicycles, electric scooters, self-balancing vehicles, electric monowheels, hoverboards, etc.

    In the briefing, we explain how battery rules depend on the legal framework that is applicable to the complete vehicle. The regulations for vehicles under type-approval are completely different from the regulations for vehicles under the Machine Directive.

    We provide a detailed overview of the requirements resulting from these two frameworks. We focus not only on electric bicycles up to 25 km/h and 250W, but also on electric bicycles in L1e-A and L1e-B (speed pedelecs), on electric mountain bikes, electric cargo bikes, electric scooters, self-balancing vehicles, etc.

    Further details on how to obtain this new briefing are here: https://leva-eu.com/rules-regulations-leva-eu-briefings-available/

  7. E-Scooters with Saddle = L1e-B Moped

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    We notice a growing number of e-scooters on the market with a saddle. In the majority of cases, these vehicles are being marketed as e-scooters, which would have the same legal status as their counterparts without saddles. This is undeniably incorrect and wrong. Companies that sell e-scooters in this manner are selling illegal products.

    Should their customers have an accident with such a vehicle, the company will without any doubt be held liable. However, it doesn’t even have to come to an accident. If the economic inspection knocks on the door, they will more than certainly confiscate the vehicles and take the company to court for their illegal trade practices. Moreover, through the RAPEX system all member states will be informed that the company is selling illegal vehicles, which have been impounded.

    E-scooters with a saddle are NOT excluded from Regulation 168/2013 and must therefore be type-approved as an L1e-B moped. As a result, in the national traffic codes, the vehicle will have the status of a moped. Some member states have in their traffic code a separate category for 25 km/h mopeds, for instance in Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands. In these countries, the vehicles will come under that category provided that their maximum speed is 25 km/h. This means that all the moped rules with reference to helmet use, position on the road, driver’s licence, insurance and minimum age must be complied with.

    Some countries have in their traffic code a special category for e-scooters without a saddle but also for self-balancing vehicles, electric hoverboards, electric monowheels, etc. In Belgium for instance, this category is called “propulsion vehicles” (voortbewegingstoestel – engins de déplacement). Their maximum speed should be 25 km/h and they have to follow the same terms of use as conventional bicycles. As a result, there is for instance no helmet obligation, no motor vehicle insurance, no driver’s licence, … The minute that same e-scooter is equipped with a seating position, it is a completely different ball game, since the vehicle comes under the traffic code category “mopeds” with its respective terms of use.

    With that it also appears, that a large number of companies who produce, export, import and market e-scooters (without a saddle) in the EU are not well informed about the technical regulations that apply to these vehicles. They, as well as self-balancing vehicles, monowheels, hoverboards, etc. come under the Machinery, RoHS and EMC Directives and this brings about a whole range of technical requirements and administrative obligations.

    LEVA-EU has all knowledge and expertise to provide companies who need further information on these rules and regulations with all necessary details. Furthermore, LEVA-EU is in the process of making an overview of national terms of use in the member states.

    Contact LEVA-EU Manager, Annick Roetynck, tel. +32 9 233 60 05, email annick@leva-eu.com

  8. New French E-scooter Rules

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    Since 25 October, France has introduced new rules for non-type-approved personal light electric vehicles (PLEVs). According to a spokesperson of the French Ministry of Transport, driving forces behind this revision was the lack of a well-designed legal status for these vehicles and safety concerns on public roads.

    Focus of the revision are rules for e-scooters, however they will also apply to hoverboards, monowheels and self-balancing vehicles. As a result, these vehicles now have a legal status in the French highway code (Décret n° 2019-1082, art. 10). This status results in rules on place on the road, parking, technical requirements and sanctions in case of infringement.

    The following rules apply since 25 October 2019.

    • A minimum age of 12 years for using these vehicles
    • A maximum design speed of 25 km/h when used on public roads
    • Only one rider per device
    • Using a mobile phone and/or headphones while driving is forbidden
    • Driving on pavements is forbidden, however parking is allowed
    • PLEVs in urban areas can go either on cycle paths or on the road, provided the maximum speed is no more than 50 km/h. Outside urban areas, they must go on cycle paths.
    • Using a helmet is recommended but not obligatory.
    • Riders must wear reflective clothing during the day in case of reduced visibility and at night
    • Individual owners of PLEVs must undertake an insurance. Owners of a free-floating sharing system must underwrite an insurance for their customers.

    Furthermore, some technical requirements come into force on 1 July 2020. From that date on, every e-scooter needs to comply with the following requirements:

    • Front- and rear lights
    • Rear & side retro reflection
    • A bell
    • A braking system

    Disobeying the new rules could results in a fine of up to €1,500 if your e-scooter has a design speed of more than 25 km/h. More than one person on your e-scooter results in a fine of €35 or €135 in case of driving on pavements.

    The link to the legal revision is here: link to Official Journal of France.

    Sources: Link to Official Journal of France & Overview of the revision & BBC

    Photo credits: pixabay

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