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Woluwe-Saint-Pierre starts impounding poorly parked scooters

14:17 21/02/2023

Fed up with electric scooters left scattered in public places or blocking the pavement, the Brussels municipality of Woluwe-Saint-Pierre has decided to start impounding any found to be badly parked.

“The number of complaints has increased and the situation was no longer tenable,” municipal councillor Alexandre Pirson (Les Engagés) told Bruzz.

The scooters to be impounded are any that “either obstruct passage or pose a danger to other users of the public space”.

After the measure was enacted, 12 such scooters or bicycles were impounded within a single hour. Photos are taken first in order to prove that the scooter or bicycle was improperly parked.

Impounded scooters are taken to the municipal depot, where the companies that rent them out can pick them up after paying a fee of €81 per scooter or bike. There is an additional €5 fee added for each day the item stays in the depot.

“We are not big fans of such a repressive policy, but when it gets too much, we have to act,” said mayor Benoît Cerexhe (Les Engagés).

“Bad parking is dangerous, and this is especially true in a family municipality with many young children and people over 65.”

The goal of the measure is to encourage users to adhere to the recently-established drop-off zones, which were the first step taken to deal with the problem of scooters (and bicycles, though to a lesser extent) left scattered all over Brussels.

The badly-parked scooters are not just an eyesore or a nuisance – they make it impossible for wheelchair users or people pushing prams to use the pavement without having to step into the street, which is dangerous and not always possible depending on the mobility of the person concerned.

The scooters are also often quite heavy, making it hard for some people to move them aside.

Woluwe-Saint-Pierre has a large number of drop-off zones available to users, so it frustrates both policymakers and residents that scooters continue to be abandoned haphazardly outside these designated zones.

“We were a pioneering municipality in this respect,” Pirson said.

“We are constantly increasing the presence and visibility of the drop-off zones. There are already 160 in our municipality and more are being added.”

The municipality of Jette is looking to follow suit, introducing 67 drop-off zones for electric scooters.

The neighbourhood is also experiencing an issue with discarded scooters creating a public nuisance.

Jette municipal councillor Nathalie De Swaef said the 67 zones should be ready by spring and result in a designated drop-off point for scooters every 300 metres.

Written by Helen Lyons