Belgium gets first taste of free-floating parking nightmare
Numerous cases of free-floating bicycles and scooters badly parked, left in the middle of the pavement or blocking the way have been reported in Belgium’s major cities. Plus, incivilities and Highway Code violations are spotted every day.
Mobility service provider Billy has equipped its bicycles with integrated locks to reduce the risk of theft, while Lime asks its users to take a picture of the scooter when parked. In Namur, civil servants have been asked to move any badly parked scooter out of the way.
With the ease of use and the convenience of free-floating mobility services come also the black spots of parking and incivilities. Of course, Belgium isn’t the first to experience this. China and the USA have paid the price for it. In Europe, France and the Netherlands have already taken actions against it.
These days, Belgium tastes the downside of free-floating mobility. Scooters are left in the middle of the pavement and bicycles block the way or even people’s home entry. On the road, right priority isn’t respected, users find themselves at two, sometimes three, passengers on one scooter.
The number of incivilities and Highway Code violations reported is growing by the day. For some citizens, the air is filled with a sentiment of chaos and impunity.
With 150 bicycles available in free-floating in Brussels, Billy thinks to have the best solution to reduce the number of wrong parking.
“We have locks integrated to our bikes. It helps to prevent theft and to make the user responsible when parking. In the USA, we see operators opting for the same solution for their scooters. It might increase their short 28-day lifetime”, declares Pierre De Schaetzen, co-founder of Billy.
At Lime, the free-floating scooter provider that recently came to Brussels, there is a more simple solution. “We ask our users to take a picture of the scooter when parked. Therefore, we know of any wrong parking and we can alert the user before fining him or her”, explains Benjamin Barnathan, Lime’s General Manager.
Namur and Liege
The above mentioned issue isn’t reserved to Brussels. Other Belgian cities hosting free-floating services experience the same.
In Namur, police have received numerous complaints and social networks are overflowing with them. In reaction, the city will soon launch a sensitisation action.
“We need to explain the code of good conduct to the people and show them the best way to park. We’ve already asked civil servants to move blocking scooters out of the way”, declared Namur’s Mobility alderman.
In Liege, free-floating services were only launched last Friday. Yet, issues have already been reported. “As of today, it’s still to soon to evaluate it but there’s not yet any big issue. We understand that the rules will need to be respected. Which is why we’ll be launching a sensitisation campaign soon”, declared Gilled Foret, Mobility Alderman of Liege.