Electric scooters, skateboards and unicycles raced in the center of Breda on Saturday. Quite exceptional, because these vehicles are not allowed on public roads in the Netherlands. You can even get a huge fine for it. But Paul Debla, the mayor of Breda, overlooked it this time. Because this group of 180 enthusiasts is proven to be safe transportation.
Nearly everyone wears a helmet: riders of passive electric scooters, skateboarders, and unicycles, also known as onewheelers. All are “light electric vehicles” (LEV). The working group leads a ten kilometer route. “What makes it so beautiful? It’s something different,” says Hector Nyman of the Legal Leadership working group.
“After Stint’s accident, it was decided that safety comes before innovation.”
“The electric scooter is the best known of the LEVs. We now want to show that you can use it safely in traffic,” says Tim Hartendorp, who is also a member of the working group. “Sometimes the picture is painted that it’s not safe, but I think that’s not justified.”
Tim believes that Stint’s accident in 2018 in the Netherlands plays a major role. Four children died in a tragic accident with an electric rickshaw on the track at Oss-West Station.
“That was dramatic for everyone, and then this legislation was closed. Then, research was done that showed Stint to be unsafe. That’s why it’s now been decided that safety comes before innovation.”
Hector agrees: “Often people from the government don’t even know about exhaust ventilation and think it’s dangerous. We want to show that it’s possible on the road.”
“It is safe especially in the Netherlands, with our flat roads and wide cycle paths.”
So the guys don’t think a €400 fine for “unsafe vehicles” is justified. “If you handle it responsibly and wear a helmet, for example, it is possible. Especially in the Netherlands with our flat roads and wide bike paths.”
“For me, it’s the safest form of transportation,” said an elderly protester. “I had a heart attack. I’m not allowed to drive anymore and the bike is less safe. It’s easier to get off the electric unicycle if something happens.”
According to activists, there are a lot of benefits. “It’s also clean. So let’s get to work, let’s help improve the environment. It won’t solve the problem, but it will contribute!”
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