Micromobility has been a welcome addition in increasing the mobility of residents whilst producing low carbon emissions, however the misuse of the personal mobility devices has been creating problems for pedestrians in Brussels and has almost led to them being banned in some municipalities. Speeding and unregulated parking whilst using the hired scooters, bikes and motorcycles has led the Brussels government to seek new measures to reduce the negatives of micromobility usage whilst preserving the positives.
Unregulated parking has been causing issues for pedestrians through abandoned vehicles blocking pavements, bicycle paths and zebra crossings. This has caused trip hazards for pedestrians and safety hazards for road and path users. For those with mobility issues, this kind of disruption can cause further problems in accessing pedestrian routes.
The new measures aim to address this issue by mandating regional road managers to designate parking zones, through converted parking spaces where riders must park their scooters after they are finished using them. These drop zones do already exist in some places in the region but the measures hope to create more. Scooters which are reported to be parking outside of these zones will be notified to the operating companies who will then have 24 hours to move the vehicle to the parking zone. Failure to park in the zone will result in a fine between EUR 25-400, which the company can choose whether to pass onto the user.
Some users of micromobility vehicles in Brussels have also been breaking the speed limit, especially in pedestrian zones. Once in pedestrian zones, users should be driving scooters at a walking pace according to The Highway Code, but pedestrians have been experiencing frequent infractions as the scooters can reach speeds of up to 25 km/h, causing safety concerns. The new measures to be implemented will require that operators ensure a speed cap on vehicles once they enter pedestrian zones. This will also mean that police officers will not have to enforce these measures themselves.
To help pay for these new measures and create the new drop zones, an annual contribution of EUR 25 per vehicle will accompany the new regulations. These could be increased to EUR 50 per year for a scooter and up to EUR 100 for motorcycles. The Brussels government have been in consult with the operating companies who are keen to ensure that their vehicles are used sensibly and responsibly even at a higher cost to the company.
The original article was posted on The Brussels Times.
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