You can hit the road in the Netherlands with more and more electric steps. Good news for everyone who has to go somewhere smoothly and relatively easily, bad news for truck drivers, for example. They must increasingly take into account new, poorly visible road users.
Car manufacturers have not escaped the popularity of the two-wheelers. Brands such as BMW, Hyundai, Mercedes-Benz, Peugeot, Seat and Renault now have an electric scooter on offer.
Electric steps are, despite the fact that they are often not allowed on public roads, fully available. Earlier this year, the police informed NU.nl that they saw an increase in the use of electric scooters and variants at national level, particularly in and around the big cities.
"Enforcement has no priority for the police and agents will not actively monitor it," the police chief said at the time.
An electric scooter is allowed as soon as it has been designated by the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management as a special moped. In these cases, these are steps with a maximum power of 4 kW that do not go faster than 25 kilometers per hour.
Not all electric steps are allowed in the Netherlands. (Photo: Daimler)
Popular from Lisbon to Krakow
The reason that you often see them is not only because there is no active control, but also because there are electric steps with support. You have to step yourself to get moving. As a result, it is basically not a motor vehicle for the law and this type of scooter is covered by bicycle legislation. For that reason there are manufacturers that develop electric steps especially for the Netherlands.
In Germany the electric scooter got the green light last summer, after which many cities and companies jumped on top. It is expected that 40,000 electric steps will be driving in Cologne by the end of the year, DW reported. They are also popular in Munich and Berlin, especially among tourists.
More than 20,000 electric steps have already been counted in Paris, while the number in Vienna is approaching 10,000. From Lisbon to Krakow, everywhere the start-ups that offer trips with partial scooters have settled in large numbers.
See also: Electric scooter and hoverboard just for sale, but prohibited on the street
'Relatively high speed electric steps problematic'
Mercedes-Benz promptly caught up with the trend by stating that its so-called Sideguard Assist, a system that monitors the blind spot of the truck through cameras, can help the driver spot the road users on an electric scooter.
According to Jam Sijm, driver coordinator and instructor at Peter Appel Transport, the problem is not visibility but speed.
"That speed is new for all road users, just like electric bicycles. Together we are not yet used to these relatively new road users and the speed is still difficult to estimate for everyone, not just for truck drivers."
For that reason, according to Sijm, driver training focuses on people on electric vehicles. "In the driver training, all road users are taken into account, including these new ones."
Whether Mercedes has the ultimate solution with its detection system, Sijm dares to doubt. "Manufacturers always try to respond to current events to promote products. With mirrors and camera systems we do our best to improve road safety for everyone, but the eyes and ears and judgment of the driver are still important."