40% of speed pedelecs are leased by companies
Of the almost 30 000 speed pedelecs registered in Belgium, 40% are leased bicycles. This is apparent from figures collected by CD&V MP, Jef Van den Bergh. In Wallonia, the super-fast e-bikes with pedal assistance up to 45 km/hour have a harder time to breakthrough. All in all, Belgium has 29 725 speed pedelecs, and the number of registrations increases every year.
Law has an effect
Last year, there were 12 132 registrations in Flanders alone. That’s twice as many as the number of electric cars for which you could still get subsidies at the time. What’s remarkable: of the 29 725 speed pedelecs in Belgium, there are 12 037 registered in the name of a company.
“The countless efforts in 2016 to make it possible for companies to make speed pedelecs tax-deductible for employees, and to open up the bicycle allowance for speed-pedelecs have clearly had their effect,” says Van den Bergh to the press agency Belga.
A Flemish story
The figures also show that the speed pedelecs are mainly a Flemish story. The provinces of Antwerp, East Flanders, and Flemish Brabant have 10 709, 6 292, and 6 577 registered speed pedelecs. According to Van den Bergh, the fact that they stand out is no coincidence, because of the traffic jams. Adding up all Walloon provinces, there are 612 speed pedelecs. Brussels counts 555.
However, further efforts are still needed to make the speed pedelec a sustainable alternative to the car. The infrastructure is not always suitable for a combination of quiet (read: slow) and fast cyclists, there is a need for specific traffic rules and signs, and it is not always clear where speed pedelecs are allowed.
For example, the Flemish mobility project 3655snel recently argued in favor of no longer automatically categorizing speed pedelecs at the European level in technical regulations as mopeds and introducing a new concept of ‘zero-emission vehicle’.
Also, not everyone with a speed pedelec is yet entitled to a bicycle allowance. According to Van den Bergh, this problem occurs among federal civil servants and the police.