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Belgian regulations (law) concerning EUC's with a maximum speed above 25 km/h


Altrider

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Note: This topic may be especially of interest to EUC riders in Belgium. Off-course everyone can comment.

Hi :efef62fc70: I often read and hear that EUC's with a max speed above 25 km/h are not allowed on the public roads in Belgium.
However, I haven't found any law that confirms this.
On the contrary. When I read the legislation thoroughly, I conclude that a EUC with a top speed of more than 25 km/h:

  1.  is considered as a "motor vehicle" (Dutch: "motorvoertuig", French: "véhicule à moteur"), more specifically: a "car"
    This means that traffic laws for cars are to be applied (like the requirement of a drivers license for cars, a liability insurance with document issued specifically for the vehicle, not drive on cycling paths...)
  2.  is not required to be registered (under a license plate)
  3.  is not required to have a certificate of conformity (CoC)

Is this correct? If no: can the reference to or quote of the specific law(s) or official decision(s) that implicate(s) otherwise be posted here?

Thank you

Laws involved (translated in English):

  1. (type of vehicle)
    Quote

    "1 December 1975 - Royal decree laying down general rules on the police force of road traffic and the use of public roads. Article 2: Definition"
    For the purposes of the provisions of this Regulation, the following definitions shall apply:

    • 2.14. "Vehicle" : any means of transport over land, and all drivable agricultural or commercial equipment.
    • 2.15.2. A "mechanically propelled vehicle" is :
      • 1° or a "non-motorized mechanically propelled vehicle", this means every vehicle which does not comply to the definition of a riding wheel (Dutch: rijwiel , French: cycle), that is propelled by means of the muscle power of the user(s) and is not equipped with a motor.
      • 2° or a "motorized mechanically propelled vehicle", this means every motor vehicle with one or more wheels that by construction and motorperfomance, on a horizontal road, is not able to drive faster than 25 km/h, among others:
          ...
        d) self balancing one- and two-wheeled electric vehicles;
        For the application of this decision, motorized mechanically propelled vehicles are not equalized with (/ considered as) motor vehicles.

     

    Conclusion: A EUC that is able to drive faster than 25 km/h does not fall under the category of "mechanically propelled vehicle" according to the current Belgian law.
    Quote
    • 2.16. "Motor vehicle" : every vehicle that is equipped with a motor, intended to ride on it's proper propulsion power.
    • 2.21. "Car" : every motor vehicle, including the trolleybus, that does not comply to the provisions (/ definitions) of the moped bike, of the motorbike, of the three- and fourwheeler with motor.
    Conclusion: Because a EUC (> 25km/h) does not fall under the mentioned provisions (/ definitions) in 2.21, but does under the provision (/ definition) of "vehicle" and "motor vehicle", it is considered a car according to the current law.
     
  2. (registration)
    Quote

    20 July 2001 - Royal decree concerning the registration of vehicles.
    Article 1: Definitions
     6° vehicle :

    • a) every vehicle that complies to the definitions mentioned in the royal decree of 15 March 1968 article 1, § 2 of the royal decree of 15 March 1968 laying down the general regulations of the technical requirements to be met by cars, their trailers, their parts and their safety accessories.
    --> see next point (3. technical requirements under royal decree of 15 March 1968).
     
    Quote
    • b) every vehicle that complies to the definitions mentioned in article 2 of the regulation (EU) No 168/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 January 2013 on the approval and market surveillance of two- or three-wheel vehicles and quadricycles.
     --> a EUC does not fall under any category of this article and is even explicitly excluded:
    Quote

    2.  This Regulation does not apply to the following vehicles:
      ...
      i) self-balancing vehicles;

    Conclusion: EUC does not fall under any of the above definitions in this decree.

  3. (technical requirement (among which the certification of conformity))
    Quote

    15 March 1968 - Royal decree laying down the general regulations of the technical requirements to be met by cars, their trailers, their parts and their safety accessories.
     Article 1: definitions and scope

    Article 1, § 1 mentions the following vehicle categories: M, N, O, G, T, C, R, S, SA, SB, SC, SD, SE, SF, SG, SH
    A EUC does not fall under any of these categories (these are all vehicles with at least 4 wheels and exceptional (heavy) vehicles).

    Article 1, § 2 mentions:
    Quote

    40. "vehicle" : every motor vehicle or its trailer, according to the following definitions;
    41. "motor vehicle" : every motorized vehicle that can move on its own propulsion power, has at least 4 wheels,...

    even more specific: 41. up to 91. --> none of these definitions or descriptions applies to EUC's.

    Conclusion: EUC does not fall under any of the above definitions in this decree.
     
    Quote

    10 October 1974 - Royal decree laying down the general regulations of the technical requirements to be met by moped bikes, motorbikes and their trailers.
    Article 2: Scope
     § 2. 2. Other special categories of vehicles are not subjected by the regulations of this decree.
      ...
      i) self-balancing vehicles;


     

 

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I think as long as you have proper insurance, a drivers licence (if you go in traffic) and don't draw unnecessary attention to yourself (riding carelessly, fast, etc.), you (we) will be fine for the foreseeable future. Fingers crossed :rolleyes:.

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43 minutes ago, Skecys said:

I think as long as you have proper insurance, a drivers licence (if you go in traffic) and don't draw unnecessary attention to yourself (riding carelessly, fast, etc.), you (we) will be fine for the foreseeable future. Fingers crossed :rolleyes:.

That's what I'm convinced of too.
Behave sane and safely in regards to yourself and others. Concerning "fast": in some cases 50 km/u seems the safest speed to me (ex. 50-road with no cycle pad or sidewalk).
If the police stops you anyway and the case comes to court, I don't think the judge can rely on any law that you would have violated, if you have proper insurance, drivers license, were not driving carelessly or recklessly,...
Unless I have overseen a (very hidden) law. I asked this only because I see statements that they would be illegal to drive on public roads if they go or can go over 25 km/h.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hi,I am going to our appartement in Belgium in Middelkerke next week. We will visit som belgium friends before. Could you please send a link to a belgium insurance for EUCs as I want to drive at the coast while I am on holiday? Mybe my friends could buy the insurance if a belgium adress is needed. Thanks a lot

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On 6/3/2021 at 7:57 PM, Altrider said:

I asked this only because I see statements that they would be illegal to drive on public roads if they go or can go over 25 km/h.

I have also gone only based on the  guidelines for the new local PEV laws that I read some time back. In it EUCs were said having to have less than 25km/h of top speed for it to be an “electrically assisted vehicle” (e-bike), but they didn’t include anything about EUCs that do not fit under that category. So I have no idea whether I’m riding an unregistered car, moped, or what have we.

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The limit of 25 is a mandatory European standard for all countries. In Europe it will not be possible to sell any vehicle in this category that exceeds 25 km / h. I know there are deniers about it. It is normal. I don't want it to be like that either and we are fighting for a new category up to 45 km / h. At the moment, there is only this category and it has that limitation. It has the advantage of not requiring administrative permission for circulation and driving and of being able to circulate on cycle paths (although that belongs to the local regulatory sphere) but it does fit into the construction standard EN17128: 2020. We are PLEVs, a new cathegory. Sorry to be the bearer of that bad news.

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1 hour ago, Halig said:

 

The limit of 25 is a mandatory European standard for all countries

 

It would be good to have a source for that statement. While I know the EU is brewing some common rules, I haven’t heard them to be ready or in place.

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5 hours ago, Halig said:

The limit of 25 is a mandatory European standard for all countries. In Europe it will not be possible to sell any vehicle in this category that exceeds 25 km / h.

They can sell devices that can go over 25km/h, in europe. But you are right that the laws are trying to make us use only devices as such and make manufactors make only these specs. Laws that deny entry of other products to market are generally not passed, this however was passed cause "safety". This law is not good, they expected us to yell and go to streets about it, yet we slept on it. Here we are now..

These devices that exceed the 25km/h are usually considered to be used on private roads or offroad. Should you limit this device to max 25km/h it is possible to use it on bicycle lane just as bicycles, you might have to check on it.. I seen multiple occasion where this passes with moped and bicycles that had limitor to em. It is another story if you were seen riding faster than 25km/h and not using the limitor..

So every EUC that goes faster than 25km/h is considered offroad vehicle and insurance needed. Insurance companies do not give you good deals on this what I seen so far. They actually might not even offer you insurance to EUC but to other devices. And the terms of these insurances might be rather horrible, like you need to prove you destroyed or sold the device in order to get rid of the monthly payments that by yearly goes closer to 700 euros.

Insurance companies get away with all this cause.. well just saying this is where we could make change. Multiple people, get lawyer to present our case, all chip in and we can get proper legal team, after all law clearly states insurance companies need to provide these. Yet they do not give insurance aimed to EUCs. A Euc insurance that let's us use  devices limited to 25km/h or 45km/h on bicycle lanes would be start. I would pay the same amount they make bicyclist pay right now, 80€/yearly ish. 

Edited by Tasku
typo fix
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All very interesting. However, from Italy, I see every day ‘ electrically assisted bikes’ on the road that are happily cruising along at 50+km/h without any problem… so clearly in contravention of the law. That said! From my point of view, an EUC is much more suited to cycle paths than in amongst other road traffic. In fact, I view he ruling that rental escooters have to go on the road…with a max speed of 25 km/h, as absolute dangerous madness….,as all other traffic on the road will be going at at least twice that speed! 

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On 6/24/2021 at 10:08 AM, null said:

It would be good to have a source for that statement. While I know the EU is brewing some common rules, I haven’t heard them to be ready or in place.

https://standards.cen.eu/dyn/www/f?p=204:110:0::::FSP_PROJECT,FSP_ORG_ID:40453,616722&cs=1D97B7CC838E1F0EB2E7E30288710F0AE

image.png.a5e0c0b32060cf4fe80ff563eaa6d0a1.png

 

Probably, due to COVID-19, its implementation throughout Europe has been delayed. We are in a transitional period. In Spain, theoretically "this summer" a manual of technical characteristics will be approved and NO PLEV will be able to (legally) exceed 25 km / h. Initially, we understand that it is an adaptation for this first category and that they can share the bike lanes. I already commented that a new category is being fought for up to 45 km / h (outside of mopeds and, logically, outside of motorcycles).

 

 

We are class 4:

 

image.thumb.png.208cfc1b76a2da3f22cb14004a888ba7.png

image.thumb.png.1b8a5509ad9ca4329b55b8f3422df15d.png

Edited by Halig
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Where does 25kmh limit come from originally and why is it so universally accepted? Why not 30, 35, 40? An educated guess would be some kind of study or statistics correlating accidents to speed but the number feels kind of low considering there are bicyclists who can go much faster than 25 only using their legs.

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3 hours ago, Rawnei said:

Where does 25kmh limit come from originally and why is it so universally accepted?

I wouldn’t be surprised if a large team of people used huge amounts of EU money and scored monthly bonuses for a few years to create a study that found out 25km/h to be some kind of an averaged top speed for casual bicyclists.

 And lobbyists probably made sure that the speed was low enough not to be an attractive choice for commuters that currently artificially keep a large part of the world’s economy afloat with their ICE cars and related taxes.

 I’m sure there are also views less positive than mine though. :lol:

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It is probably a compromise speed to be able to use the bike lanes. We understand that this is a first category of electric personal vehicles. The next category (up to 45 km / h) could no longer go on bike lanes. The ideal is to share the pacified road with all the vehicles but, while that comes about, being able to use the bike lanes has the advantage that they encourage people to use these vehicles and we are gaining more strength. What no politician will allow is to put a limit of 45 (or even not to put any limit) and leave the self-regulation of an unregistered vehicle to the personal will and with practically no administrative permission required. Self-control, unfortunately, does not work

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3 hours ago, Halig said:

It is probably a compromise speed to be able to use the bike lanes. We understand that this is a first category of electric personal vehicles. The next category (up to 45 km / h) could no longer go on bike lanes. The ideal is to share the pacified road with all the vehicles but, while that comes about, being able to use the bike lanes has the advantage that they encourage people to use these vehicles and we are gaining more strength. What no politician will allow is to put a limit of 45 (or even not to put any limit) and leave the self-regulation of an unregistered vehicle to the personal will and with practically no administrative permission required. Self-control, unfortunately, does not work

Point is a lot of non-electric bikes push well above 25kmh, not unusual for a bike to do 30-40kmh and some elite cyclists doing 50-60 on a regular bike path even, so 25kmh feels low.

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Yes, but laws cannot be based on exceptions. The average speed of bicycles on cycle paths is quite low. Allowing the use of bicycle lanes to vehicles that, with a gesture or touch, can double those average speeds and make dangerous passes in narrow lanes, with the force that the cycling community has (and with good reason to refuse) no politician will accept it.

I said: we are in an initial stage. Limited small vehicles have been authorized for city commutes. Obviously, the most powerful and quality unicycles and scooters have much greater benefits, but they could not go on cycle paths and that is why we have to wait for that other category.

Or do we want to have authorization to go 45 km / h (or more, or without limitation), but also use the bicycle lanes?

It is very difficult for us in political meetings to convince them of the benefits of these vehicles and to limit us as little as possible, but we cannot do everything at once: limiting and using all roads.

And by the way, those uses of pedestrian spaces and high speeds do us terrible damage by avoiding vehicles and endangering pedestrians. For those kinds of performances, they limit us all much more than we would like.

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37 minutes ago, Halig said:

Or do we want to have authorization to go 45 km / h (or more, or without limitation), but also use the bicycle lanes?

45 km/h should be possible on bicycle-lanes that are well taken care of (and specific for cycling only). It will be troublesome to lock any speed-limit to lanes, as not everyone can get to it. So in bicycle lanes the speed is depending on the person in front of you, until you pass said person. Lights are now in all bicycles and you can place em in helmet too, gets us one step closer.. A lot of the accidents still happen during dark, as there might be another rider or something on the road that you miss. That 45 km/h does also consirable more nasty damage to any scooter or EUC rider than the 25km/h.
But should shared lane with pedestrians remain 25 km/h or with special rule to slow?

If the lane is shared with pedestrians, surely everyone should slow to their speed until passed? I seen pedestrians multiple times crossing over to the bicycle lane without warning. We could train riders to these events to.. but without any kind of requirements/training -> accidents are possible.

I feel devices over 45km/h should go same lane as automobiles, assuming it then can travel same speed, such as 60km/h. Problem being there is no way to do that right now (to get plate and register as moped for one). HOWEVER option to limit speed to lower class should be given. Surely we cannot expect everyone willing to drive among the 2-18 ton lane? Any collision with car likely deadly.

Also there is good rule of thumb to make pass with 2m gap(France has this!), if not possible then with minimal speed difference.  And no passing in crossing area, obviously! Most accidents happen in the crossing area and almost all deaths for that matter.

Limiting speed of EUC able to do XX-Speed to 45 km/h would be ideal easy solution. Comes with responsibility to dodge and slow near the pedestrians, in my books. And I would hope licence or some kind of training requirement to make sure these people are up to the task.

That be my ideal EU-conditions where everybody fits to in.

In countries where there is no bicycling lane structure to begin with they just gotta hope some of those car lanes get transformed for slower moving lane usage or get in class with automobile/scooter/moped/licencing.. 

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  • 4 weeks later...
On 6/25/2021 at 11:53 PM, Halig said:

In Spain, theoretically "this summer" a manual of technical characteristics will be approved and NO PLEV will be able to (legally) exceed 25 km / h.

I think the whole 25Km/h limit is two fold: on the one hand you can use the bike lanes which are less congested than car roads, so you go slower but at a more steady pace.

On the other hand, well, you have all this untapped power to get to your destination much quicker.

In The Netherlands they have two sort of scooters (motorized motorbikes):

  • snorfiets: blue registration plate, max speed 25Km/h, can use the bike lane most of time time with a few exceptions
  • bromfiets: yellow registration plate, can use several of the bike lanes but not all of them. Speed limit on the bike lane inside the city is 30Km/h. Speed limit on the bike lane outside of the city is either 40Km/h or 45Km/h, depending on the area.
    Sometimes, the bike lane becomes too narrow or presents other difficulties for sharing with normal bikes and these bromfiets. In those case, which is clearly signalized, the bromfiets will have to get on the car lane with a speed limit of 45Km/h (unless it's inside a neighborhood, in which case it'll be clearly stated what the speed limit is, either 10Km/h or 30Km/h)

So, in The Netherlands they have explored these scenarios more often. But it's too soon in Spain for all this to be so clearly defined, I guess.

I wouldn't mind having sort of the same rules that they have in The Netherlands applied to PEVs that can comfortably hit the limit of 45Km/h.

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