The regulation of private e-scooters continues to be a discussed topic, one on which UK Transport Minister Jesse Norman believes more data and public consultation is required.
During a Transport Select Committee hearing, UK Transport Minister Jesse Norman was questioned by MPs about the next government steps. Norman’s response was that the department still requires, “non-pandemic large-scale e-scooter usage data” in addition to the public’s views on any legislation. Norman continued, “We need to talk to people and say, ‘Look, here are insurance alternatives. What do you think? Here’s the evidence on helmets. What do you think? Here’s the evidence on safety. What do you think? We certainly don’t have a consolidated basis of consultative evidence.”
In response, opposing Labour MP for Exeter, Ben Bradshaw, commented that enough time has already been spent: “I think the government wants to regulate and agrees with us on this. I don’t think you’re getting a lot of opposition, so please just get on with it.”
According to Norman, the decision on when to send the Transport Act to Parliament is currently being considered by MPs: “It wouldn’t be an immediate action even if there was time in Parliament now. But even if that were available, there are still several intermediate steps, potentially another round of consultation, an extension of some trial work, more focused trial work potentially, before we get to that stage.”
Safety concerns are being considered alongside the benefits of e-scooters that include connecting communities hampered by public transport. Norman talked of a balance that was required, further commenting, “My goal is to continue to push ahead with this, pull out the lessons we’re getting on the issues I’ve raised and then try to put them in front of the public to have a proper conversation about it and take that debate forward another stage.”
In May 2022, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Transport (DfT) Baroness Vere of Norbiton, announced that the UK Government would be creating a new low-speed zero-emission vehicle category and the bill would be submitted in the current parliamentary session. However, last December, the DfT postponed the Transport Bill details, part of the forthcoming Future of Transport legislation. Trials are now extended to May 2024.
“The laxity has lasted too long” says French Minister, following a surge in accidents.
Scooters in free circulation could be banned before the age of 14 or 16, according to a recent interview with Clément Beaune. The French Minister of Transport, compelled operators to, “act very quickly” to reduce road accidents, further commenting that legislations may be made if their reaction is lacking.
There is ongoing conflict over the introduction of scooters, and France’s latest national plan proposes strong measures to regulate their use with all of those involved, namely elected officials, associations and operators. Supportive comments from politicians and parents of children who had been involved in accidents were shared, to encourage changes from city officials who regulate in accordance with the 2019 law on mobility.
Some local authorities have struggled to impose regulations on operators, so a national structure is suggested. The state will take control of agendas and agree them with operators and communities alike. The tightening of two-person traffic controls is just one example.
Beaune finished his interview, commenting that if more regulation is needed, it will be enforced.
Japan’s National Police Agency has announced that from July, those riding e-scooters in Japan will no longer require a driver’s licence. Individuals under 16 will be banned from using the vehicles.
E-scooters are growing in popularity in Japan’s urban areas thanks to their practicality. Likewise, instances of improper use such as traffic violations have also risen. In light of this, the Japanese Government has been introducing new legislation to regulate the usage of the popular light electric vehicles, with police enforcing these rules strictly. Previously, e-scooters were classified as mopeds under 50 cubic centimetres in engine displacement, therefore requiring a driver’s licence, helmet, and registered license plate. Now, vehicles falling under new regulations will be classified as motorized bicycles.
The new rules apply to scooters with a max. speed of 20kph.
Riders must comply with the same traffic rules as cyclists, including not riding on sidewalks (unless max. speed is set to 6kph).
E-scooters must measure under 1.9m in length and under 0.6m in width.
E-scooters must be equipped with green lights on the front and back, which must be illuminated on roads and flash while on sidewalks.
Vehicles failing to comply with these parameters will continue to be classified as mopeds, and therefore require a full driver’s license.
Comments Off on Commission Workshop on LEV-Legislation: registration to close on 8 September
On 14 September 2022, the European Commission will hold a workshop on the technical requirements on road safety for so-called Personal Mobility Devices (PMD). The term PMD covers all electric cycles, including cargocycles and speed pedelecs, e-scooters, self-balancing vehicles, electric skateboards, etc. LEVA-EU calls on the whole LEV-sector to participate in the workshop and have a say about current and future LEV-legislation.
This workshop is a one-off opportunity to make it clear to the European Commission that the current legislation is not adapted to light electric vehicles (LEVs) and therefore hinders their market development and uptake. LEVA-EU therefore warmly appeals to all companies, manufacturers, importers, distributors, as well as user groups involved, to seize this opportunity to testify that PMDs are currently severely hampered by a lack of proper legislation and to demand harmonised and accurate European legislation for these vehicles. The workshop will take place both physically in Brussels and online. Registration closes on 8 September, 12:00 CEST: https://bit.ly/3APEupl.
The current 250 W limit applied to EPACs is too low for the heavier pedal assisted cargo bikes that are now growing in popularity.
The L1e-A subcategory (electric cycles up to 25 km/h but more than 250W) has failed to attract manufacturers and consumers.
The business model of many PMD manufacturers is incompatible with the type-approval system.
On the question of traffic rules, there is support for the development of an EU harmonised approach.
TRL concluded that technical regulation outside the Machinery Directive and Regulation 168/2013, tailored to the needs of the PMD industry was the best way forward . The system could include a variety of assessment methods, ranging from self-certification to independent testing. TRL concluded further: “In our view this new system for the regulation and approval of PMDs would provide the flexibility necessary to support innovation in this rapidly evolving sector, while maintaining technical standards and road safety.”
Following this study, LEVA-EU submitted to the Commission a very extensive Position Paper on how EU rules and regulations for Personal Mobility Devices (PMDs) could be easily formulated into a simple but accurate legal framework, specifically for PMDs. The Commission responded: “We will carefully review and provide a detailed reply to your position paper.” That detailed reply never came. When we contacted the Commission to enquire after their response, we were told that at that time car emission issues had priority. On that occasion it was announced that there would be a workshop in the second half of 2022.
LEVA-EU is, to say the least, very surprised by the content of that workshop. The TRL study explicitly covered All PMDs and also clearly stated that the legislation for ALL PMDs needs to be revised. The September workshop, however, seems to focus one-sidedly on e-scooters. There is no mention in the programme of any planning for a review of the legislation. The Netherlands, France and Germany are each allowed to explain their national rules for e-scooters which, in our opinion, are in direct conflict with European legislation. And before the Commission enters into discussion with the participants, only one e-scooter manufacturer is allowed to comment on technical aspects and regulatory compliance. You read it correctly: ONE.
In the framework of the energy crisis as well as the Green Deal, the Fit for 55 Package, the New Urban Mobility Framework, the European Climate Pact and many more EU policies, it can no longer be justified that LEVs are neglected to this extent. We need solutions NOW.
LEVA-EU therefore calls upon all LEV-stakeholders to attend the Commission’s Workshop of 14 September 2022, either live in Brussels or online. Do not miss this unique opportunity to have your say on how your EPAC, Electric Cargo Cycle, Speed Pedelec, E-Scooter, Self-Balancing Vehicle Business needs its own accurate legal framework without any futher delay. Register before 8 September, 12 CET, here: https://ec.europa.eu/eusurvey/runner/63d8a542-d4b1-17e4-4159-fad262171bff
Comments Off on Swiss Federal Council: power does not play significant role for speed limited vehicles
Nine years after the publication of Regulation 168/2013, with its wretched 250W power limit, the Swiss Federal Council has finally been the first to officially come to the conclusion that this or any other power limit makes no sense. The Council writes: “The engine power does not play a significant role for vehicles of which the speed is limited by design.” Of course, this may not convert the EU, whilst this 250W continues to cause damage to the LEV-sector on a daily basis. However, what LEVA-EU has been preaching since its establishment has now finally been officially endorsed by a legislator. This makes it harder for the EU to continue to deny that Regulation 168/2013 should be urgently revised for the benefit of LEVs.
The Swiss Council has taken the finding one step further and concluded that traffic should be reorganised on the basis of the principle of kinetic energy. This is another assertion that LEVA-EU has long been proclaiming loud and clear. The Council writes: “Decisive for the safe coexistence of different modes of transport in the same area and for traffic flow are speeds that are as uniform as possible. In the event of a collision, the kinetic energy of the parties involved is decisive for the severity of the accident. The engine power does not play a significant (…). For these reasons, vehicles are assigned to traffic areas on the basis of their speed and weight. For the dimensioning of the traffic areas, the space requirements, the requried space and the width of the vehicles are also decisive for the dimensioning of the traffic areas.“
Below is the full press release on the planned reform:
The transport of goods with small electric vehicles and so-called cargo bikes is booming. As a result, road space in urban areas is under greater strain. In the view of the (Swiss) Federal Council, the traffic space in these areas should be used more in favour of non-motorised traffic in the future.
In the cities and agglomerations, more and more different vehicles are travelling in the same traffic areas. This increases the risk of accidents. On the basis of parliamentary proposals, the Federal Council has analysed how the scarce traffic areas can be better used and how the coexistence of road users can be improved. The corresponding report is now available: https://www.newsd.admin.ch/newsd/message/attachments/69506.pdf
Goals of the Federal Council
The Federal Council is guided by the following three objectives for its further work:
Sustainability: the Federal Council recognises the growing importance of emission-free, smaller and slower vehicles. They contribute to the reduction of CO2 emissions and to the better use of limited traffic areas.
Safety: the Federal Council wants to increase road safety, especially for non-motorised traffic. Therefore, the scarce traffic space in urban areas should be used more in favour of non-motorised traffic when building and planning transport infrastructures.
Simple and comprehensible regulations: for the categorisation of vehicles and the regulations for their use, the Federal Council strives for simple and future-proof solutions.
Based on this, the Federal Council proposes the following new regulations:
In principle, the pavement should continue to be reserved for pedestrians. As before, this does not apply to scooters, roller skates and other devices that do not have an electric drive.
Bicycles, e-bikes with pedal assistance and purely electrically powered vehicles are to be permitted in bicycle traffic areas. Legally, this category refers to small vehicles that may be driven without a driver’s licence and that weigh a maximum of 250 kg (today 200 kg), have a maximum width of 1 m and travel at a maximum speed of 25 km/h. For fast e-bikes, there is an exception. There is an exception for fast e-bikes. E-bikes with pedal assistance up to 45 km/h may use both the bicycle areas and the road.
Electric vehicles with a weight of max. 450 kg (with driver’s licence category M or F) may also travel on the bicycle areas at a maximum speed of 25 km/h.
As before, small electric vehicles must be equipped with at least one steering bar or grab rail and have two independent brakes. Vehicles that do not meet these requirements will continue to be excluded from the use of public spaces.
Based on these principles, the Federal Department of the Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications (DETEC) will concretise the standards concept, check the effectiveness of the operational and organisational measures and, based on this, draw up a revision of the road traffic law.
Comments Off on Belgium Wheelers’ Petition for review micromobility speed limits
From their experience, the Belgium Wheelers conclude that this legislation “is not adapted to the technical features of these machines, nor is it in line with the reality on the ground.” They further argue that legal limitation of motor power or speed by construction may sometimes be a factor of danger rather than safety. For instance if the power proves to be insufficient for the weight of the rider, it can slow the vehicle down to a point that it cannot be ridden in a safe way anymore. Also, the Belgium Wheelers believe that aligning the vehicles with the speed limits of 30 km/h and 50 km/h on the road, will reduce the risk of collisions and accidents.
Belgium Wheelers state: “This new category will allow for a wider public to have useful access to these devices, with sufficient power to allow use over longer distances and/or for a wider range of user sizes, which is not the case for machines with limited engine power or a maximum speed of 25 or 30km/h.”
Comments Off on Legalise e-scooters, says UK Transport Committee
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.
Comments Off on Commission Asks TRL to Revise Technical + Road Use Rules for ALL LEVs
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.
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 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
In those member states that allow electric scooters on the road, they are clearly on the rise. With that, the offer of e-scooters with saddle is also growing. However, those vehicles are ticking time bombs since they are completely illegal if non type-approved. LEVA-EU, the trade association for businesses in the light, electric vehiclesector, explains why a saddle makes such a difference.
The growing popularity of the electric scooter is gradually becoming visible in traffic. It is a green means of transport that can contribute to making mobility more sustainable. A number of manufacturers have now added a saddle to that scooter, possibly in an attempt to improve comfort and to promote the vehicle to a wider audience.
In Belgium, which has introduced very favourable rules for e-scooter in its traffic code, the offer of electric scooters with saddle is growing noticeably. Bol.com has an electric scooter “for children” from € 117.99. Via Fruugo, Zipper scooters with saddle are advertised from € 269. MediaMarkt offers the Mpman as an electric balance bike for € 349. In the web shop of the weekly magazine Knack the Ecoscooter is at € 499 and Fnac promotes the Inmotion P1F at € 699.35.
All these vehicles have one thing in common: they are illegal. All distributors should cease sales immediately and recall all vehicles sold. Should one of these vehicles be involved in a serious accident, the consequences for the involved distributors and manufacturers of the scooters will be incalculable.
The warning comes from LEVA-EU, the European trade association for light, electric vehicle businesses. LEVA-EU negotiates directly with the European institutions on the technical legislation for these vehicles. As a result, the organization has first-hand correct and in-depth knowledge of the legislation.
Most vendors do not disclose the legal status of these e-scooters with saddle or suggest that they belong to the special category that Belgium has created in the traffic code for e-scooters without saddle. There is a chance that the distributors themselves are in the dark about the illegality of their merchandise. The legal status of the electric scooter with saddle is the result of 1,036 pages of European legislation that has not evolved with the market and has grown into a gigantic legal bottleneck.
In 2009, the European Commission had to rewrite the technical requirements for mopeds and motorcycles. It was already clear then that the internal combustion engine would have to make way for its electric counterpart and that classic mopeds and motorcycles would be supplemented or replaced by a series of light, electric vehicles with the electric bicycle in the lead. The Commission then, with the approval of the European Parliament and the Council, stubbornly refused to write future-proof legal texts. In 1,036 pages, Regulation 168/2013 and the 4 associated implementing regulations mainly describe the limitation of emissions and safety features, which are not relevant for light, electric vehicles.
Saddle = moped
The Commission was prepared to exclude the classic electric bicycle (25 km / h-250W) from Regulation 168/2013, along with a number of other vehicles, which they did not know how to handle in type-approval. This was the case for vehicles that “are not equipped with at least one seating position” (Article 2.2.j of Regulation 168/2013). Electric scooters that are not equipped with a seat are therefore excluded from the type-approval for mopeds and motorcycles. As a result, as far as the traffic codes are concerned, these scooters end up in a legal vacuum, which Member States can fill at their discretion.
To fill this vacuum, Belgium has devised the category “locomotive machines” (voortbewegingstoestel (NL) – engin de déplacement (F)). Belgium stipulated in the traffic code that these vehicles are allowed to drive up to 25 km / h. In addition, they get a similar position on the road as bicycles, they do not require a license plate and no insurance. The user must not wear a helmet and does not require a driver’s license.
Put a saddle on that scooter and the story is completely different. Then it is vehicle equipped with at least one seat. So, it is subject to type approval in the category L1e-B “moped” and in the Belgian traffic code it comes under “moped class A”. As a result, you must register it, apply for a license plate and pay insurance. You are also obliged to wear a motorcycle helmet and at least have an AM driving license. You must also be at least 16 years old to drive such a scooter. Bol.com’s scooter for children is therefore doubly illegal in a manner of speaking.
There is no (scientific) research that supports the decision to submit e-scooters with a saddle to type approval and without a saddle not. At the time, decision-makers just put a wet finger in the air, as they did when deciding on the 25 km/h and 250W limits for the electric bicycle.
However, it is impossible to have the Zipper scooters, Mpmen and Ecoscooters of this world comply with the European type-approval for mopeds and motorcycles. The technical requirements are totally inaccurate for these vehicles. Even if you manage to get a type of electric scooter with saddle approved, it still does not guarantee a safe vehicle. The same problem also occurs for example for speed pedelecs or electric cargo bikes with more than 250W. However, if you keep the saddle of all those vehicles under 54cm, you don’t have to meet type approval after all (exclusion from Article 2.2.k); legal nonsense pushed to an extreme.
Another, much bigger problem is that most Member States do not have a “moped class A”, like Belgium has, or the Netherlands with “snorfiets” or Germany with “Leichtmofa”. All mopeds in L1e-B mopeds are treated as one and the same vehicle in the traffic codes of those Member States. In most of these cases, mopeds are not allowed to use cycle paths. This is how the feather weight Zipper, Mpman or Ecoscooter, which often doesn’t even reach 25 km / h, ends up between cars and freight traffic that drive much faster. This creates life-threatening situations. This problem also occurs with speed pedelecs, the majority of which cannot reach 45 km / h but rather have a cruising speed of 30 to 35 km / h. This appeared from recent research commissioned by the Flemish Environment Department (see https://bit.ly/3cTQtnI)
4.2 million deaths a year
LEVA-EU has recently made an urgent request to the Presidents of the Commission, Council and Parliament for a rapid and fundamental revision of Regulation 168/2013. In addition, LEVA-EU has developed a concrete and practical proposal as to how to replace the legal bottlenecks with rules for light, electric vehicles that will enable the market to grow safely.
LEVA-EU Manager Annick Roetynck adds: “In the Green Deal and other European policyy instruments, several billion euros are earmarked for making mobility green and sustainable. Improving legislation for electric scooters and other light electric vehicles is a measure that is virtually cost-free, much needed and guaranteed to generate millions, if not billions, of euros. And yet Europe continues to systematically put that measureoff. This is unacceptable.”
Meanwhile, the Commission has replied to the LEVA-EU request. They announce yet another study, the results of which will be published in the first quarter of 2021. Only then could a debate on a possible revision of Regulation 168/2013 be started. Should a proposal for review be made, it will need to be approved by the Council and Parliament.
Annick Roetynck: “This means that it could take at least another five years before our sector can have any hope of removing the legal bottlenecks. That is downright unacceptable. More than 400,000 people have died of Covid-19 so far. But meanwhile, 4.2 million people die from air pollution every year. Mobility is clearly a growing part of that problem. Why is Europe blocking the opening of the market for light electric vehicles? Why does Europe continue to ignore the potential of light electric vehicles to make mobility more sustainable? ” LEVA-EU does intend to keep knocking on the European door.