Flemish municipalities outside Brussels will not implement appeals for electric scooters
In Flemish municipalities on the outskirts of Brussels, authorities are cracking down on the arrival of electric scooters, to the dismay of micro-mobility companies, La Dernière Heure and The Brussels Times report.
Micro-mobility companies are frustrated by the limitations electric scooters face in the outer parts of Brussels. François-Xavier Giraud of German micro-mobility company Tier has argued that "There is a demand," and it is not being met by not making scooters available in the city outskirts.
Tier hires over 2,000 scooters across the capital. Bolt, another scooter company, has also expressed that many people use the scooters to reach the borders of Flanders before parking them and continuing by other modes of transport. “If, for example, you take tram 3 and arrive at Esplanade, you should be able to take a scooter to go to Strombeek-Bever,” said Yessin Aattache from VOI. The company says ten drop zones in the Flemish border town would be sufficient.
Companies versus municipalities
Several companies are pushing for Flanders to allow scooters to reach as far as Dilbeek and Kraainem to encourage greater mobility. No company has plans to expand southwards, as the distances between towns are much more significant.
Despite the demand from companies and consumers, Flemish municipalities remain unconvinced. Each Flemish municipality sets its own rules, and none are currently willing to implement new rules about allowing scooters. “We don’t want them,” the mayor of Zaventem, Ingrid Holemans, said bluntly. Other municipalities point to the number of accidents related to electric scooters. According to the VIAS road safety institute, there was a four-fold increase in accidents related to electric scooters across Belgium in the last two years.
Wemmel and Grimbergen both echo the opposition, and Kraainem says it has not been contacted by the relevant companies. The nearest Flemish municipality to Brussels that is not technically opposed to a fleet of electric scooters is Zennestad, in Mechelen, but this proposal has stalled.
There is an increasingly hostile climate towards electric scooters in Brussels, both by regional and municipal governments.
Only two scooter operators will remain in Brussels starting from 2024, capped at 4,000 scooters per company. Some companies instead see more potential for their shared bicycles, which are “better suited for long distances.”
“The Flemish local authorities we spoke to were in favour of bike-sharing projects, such as the one currently being developed by the Vervoerregio Vlaamse Rand,” one company said. This proposed network will offer a shared bike service linking 30 of the municipalities bordering Brussels, helping to improve connectivity over long distances to the border.
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