They sometimes pass by at a decent speed and are a lot less innocent than you think. Especially abroad, it can be quite expensive if you make chunks with your e-scooter. Jelle Smits of De Vereende knows how that works.
1. Most e-scooters go 'on paper' between 20 and 30 km per hour, but some models can tick the 65 km and the fastest even reaches a top speed of 100 km per hour. That's not a scooter anymore, is it?
"No, I honestly didn't know the latter either. These are probably exceptions, more or less comparable to the souped-up moped of the past. The ordinary e-scooter, which reaches between 20 and 30 km per hour, falls under the definition of a motor vehicle in the Netherlands. In the context of the authorisation, the RDW is working on a category of light electric vehicles, which also includes the Segway , for example. The vehicles in that category shall be classified by weight and power/maximum speed. Provided that the e-scooters do not go faster than 25 km per hour, they fall into that category."
2. When you rent an e-scooter abroad as a Dutch citizen, you are often not insured. Why not?
"There are two sides to that. The first is that in the country where you rent the e-scooter, there may be no insurance obligation. This is the case in Spain, for example. The e-scooter falls into a light category, resulting in an exception for the insurance obligation. If you are unlucky, no insurance has been taken out. And the other side of the coin is that according to our liability insurance for private individuals (AVP), the scooter falls under the exclusion of a motor vehicle. Then there is no coverage here either if you cause damage with an e-scooter."
3. What costs should you take into account if you cause damage?
"Well, what does a broken leg cost abroad? That is still a relatively harmless damage, but count on an average personal injury. About 20,000 euros is really not an exaggeration. That foreign health insurer will certainly try to recover those costs from the causer. We know of an example of a Dutchman who rented an e-scooter in Spain and caused injury. The insurer in question recovered the damage, which ran into the tens of thousands of euros, from him."
4. And what about in the Netherlands? Is the damage covered?
"In our country there are already fewer e-scooters, because our admission requirements are higher. Sometimes they are not even allowed on the road. And if such a thing drives around in the Netherlands, it must be compulsorily insured against legal liability. I just wonder if everyone knows and does that. Especially when renting a scooter, people often pay less attention to what is and is not covered. It's just a scooter, isn't it? If you rent a car, people are much more alert, while those scooters are more dangerous than everyone thought until now. We expect that there will be an insurance obligation for this type of vehicle throughout Europe, so that there will soon be no more exceptions."
5. And in the meantime, what do you recommend? For the time being, but no longer drive an e-scooter abroad?
"That goes a long way. I would at least check myself whether that scooter is properly insured. Also, don't forget that the landlords are gaining more and more experience and becoming more alert to the coverage. And if I don't trust it for a while and am not sure whether the coverage is in order, I would leave the e-scooter for a while."
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