Electric scooters have become part of the urban landscape. Parked or even abandoned on the sidewalk by careless users, the scooters have been the source of many complaints in recent times. One example is the the municipality of Etterbeek, in Brussels, where residents have noticed that the electric devices have been left on the paving stones intended for the visually impaired.
Since July 1st of this year, the regulations have become stricter. “Users must ride on the bike path or on the roadway, and cannot carry passengers,” said police corps chief Michael Jonniaux to news agency Belga. “The machine must also be equipped with brakes, an acoustic device, a white reflector on the front, a red reflector on the back, and side signals, specifically a white reflective strip on each side of the footrests, and/or a white reflective strip in the form of a continuous circle on each side of the front and rear wheel tire.” In an initial action on July 6th, 79 drivers were stopped and 12 citations were issued.
If there is continued unwillingness on the part of the operators, we will be sending them the bill.
Vincent De Wolf, Mayor of Etterbeek
Since the warnings have not helped, the scooters in violation and their users are now be subject fines, Belgian news outlet RTBF reported. From the simple administrative fine for obstructing traffic to the criminal fine for improper parking and obstruction, the Etterbeek police have been very busy lately.
Each time the officers go out, about ten scooters are taken away to be stored in the basement of the town hall. The mayor of Etterbeek, Vincent De Wolf, told news outlet SudInfo that this may result in a change in sanctions: “If there is continued unwillingness on the part of the operators, we will be sending them the bill.”
They first take pictures of the vehicles in violation, then note the identification number of the machine. This number will be sent to the scooter rental companies along with the fine. It is then up to the companies to find the user and send him the fine for bad parking.
In case of dispute, the law enforcement department of the municipality of Etterbeek has surveillance cameras installed in the streets. They can also possibly exonerate a user if the images prove that the vehicle has been moved by a third party or has been subject to vandalism. The RTBF reports that no scooter company has come to collect the devices so far. Reminders will have to be sent in the short term.