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Brussels approves regulation on designated e-scooter parking zones
Brussels has decided to end the indiscriminate parking of self-service e-scooters. The deputies of the regional parliament voted last week to create dedicated parking zones around the city which will be enforced under threat of sanction to the scooter operators.
Some municipalities have already taken the lead. In Evere, for example, there are 50 specific parking areas for scooters within its 5 km2 territory. Users are legally required to deposit their machine at the end of the rental in these areas, "otherwise the municipality will impose administrative sanctions on the operator and the operator will then certainly pass on the cost to users who have misbehaved," explained the municipality’s alderman for mobility Pascal Freson.
In Berchem-Sainte-Agathe, 31 parking zones are already applicable in a territory of 3 km2. Similar projects are also on track in Saint-Josse, which plans 15 zones, as well as Uccle.
The decision by the regional government could soon lead to scooter parking being regulated in the entire territory of the Brussels region.
"We will now be able to have three regimes: free parking areas, a bit like today, where we can park everywhere as long as we respect the Highway Code. A second regime with prohibition zones, such as the Grand-Place. And a third regime, which is new: the regulatory regime with drop-zones," said member of parliament Arnaud Verstraete, one of the main supporters of the new regulation.
The municipalities will have the freedom to decide which regime applies to them. "We trust the good management of the municipalities," Verstraete continued. “We hope that the mayors will want to do everything they can to make this happen. In municipalities where there are drop-zones, people will see that it is well organised, and that it is going well. We hope this is going to inspire those who take a bit longer to make their decision."
In terms of controls and sanctions, the responsibility – at least for the time being – will fall on the authorities. "From now on, regional and municipal officials will be able to check in the field,” said Verstraete. “If they find an infringement, they can move or remove the scooter and pass a fine to the operator. It is then up to the firm to contact the user".
According to Arnaud Verstraete, the response from the operators has been favourable.
"We are quite in favour of the implementation of a regulation,” said Marien Jomier, head of operations at Dott Belgium, one of the country’s leading e-scooter operators. “Our teams of employees are fully prepared to implement this framework. We've seen it in other cities, it's something that works. And a key element for it to work is consistency and simplicity. I encourage all municipalities to jump on the bandwagon from the start and follow the recommendations of the ordinance in terms of quantity, size and positioning of parking points. The accession of the municipalities will be a determining factor."
The new measures are expected to come into force gradually from September, when the government will have issued a decree to specify certain practical modalities.