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Bikes, canals, and now e-scooters — the micro-mobility landscape is about to change in the Netherlands

Bikes, canals, and now e-scooters — the micro-mobility landscape is about to change in the Netherlands

The Netherlands is synonymous with cycling, so we think it would be a natural fit for a new type of micro-mobility: e-scooters. The Netherlands’ Minister of Infrastructure and Water Management Cora van Nieuwenhuizen even visited Voi’s Stockholm headquarters in February 2020 to learn more about Voi e-scooters and our safe, sustainable and efficient mobility strategy.

To support the Netherlands in its journey toward scooting, on 14 December Voi hosted a webinar titled “Micro-mobility as part of the sustainable mobility transition in the cycling country the Netherlands”. The aim was to discuss Dutch micro-mobility opportunities with experts and policy-makers and share micro-mobility experiences from the U.K. and Germany. There was a special focus on how e-scooters would interact with e-bikes and bikes, since the Netherlands is a nation of cyclists.

The webinar featured Lucy Yu, Director of Public Policy for the U.K., Ireland and Benelux regions at Voi; Sandra Talebian and Anja Leopold, project leads at Jelbi, a shared mobility and transportation app created by the BVG (Berliner Verkiersbetrieben) in Berlin, Germany; and and Richard Dilks, chief executive at CoMoUK, a U.K. charity promoting the benefits of shared transport for the public good. The event attracted policy-makers and academics from across the Netherlands.

The U.K. and German learnings from the session highlighted the need for national regulations so e-scooters can safely make use of the excellent Dutch cycling infrastructure, creating a broader micro-mobility mix. Greater access to a variety of transportation options will further reduce the dependency on privately owned cars and unused bicycles on the streets.

The webinar was especially timely, since the Dutch government is expected to publish its light electric vehicle (LEV) framework this month. This national legislation will classify LEVs, such as e-scooters, and their set regulations for place on the road (speed, safety checks, vehicle admissions, etc.). With the framework in place, LEVs would be allowed on public roads in the Netherlands in 2022. The Dutch Parliament also recently adopted a resolution to allow LEVs on public roads.

In order to fast-track the process, Voi has applied for a bijzondere bromfiets (“special moped”) permit, which, if passed, would allow Voi e-scooters on the road as soon as 2021. Under Dutch law, e-scooters are only permitted if they are granted bijzondere bromfiets status by the authorities, meaning the user must be 16+ and insured, and the vehicle must be equipped with lights and reflectors. Speeds are capped at 25 km/h. Several municipalities are in talks with Voi about starting e-scooter pilots, pending regulation

The Dutch have been at the helm of mobility for decades but are playing catch-up with some other European countries when it comes to adopting e-scooters as part of a broader mobility mix,” said Lucy Yu. “Not only is the Netherlands considered the world’s largest cycling country, but it’s also known for creating innovative solutions to address the larger environmental issues facing countries today. COVID-19 adds an extra dimension to the already complex mobility debate including on issues. People are not only looking for more sustainable alternatives to move around, they are also looking for safe options during an unpredictable pandemic that affects daily life and health. In the midst of new local and national COVID-19 measures, we are seeing a growing need for safe and sustainable transport options, as has been shown in other markets and these experiences were shared today.”

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