The Dutch Safety Board comes up with the painful conclusion that both the category of special mopeds and the procedure for admitting them had important gaps. The category special mopeds was created because the Lower House urged the Minister to get the Segway on the road quickly and to enable innovation.
Although the minister remained reluctant to allow new vehicles on public roads, she was willing to investigate whether the Segway could be admitted as a disabled vehicle.
The category had an open character, so that hardly any frameworks were set for what could and could not be admitted to the procedure. The ministry set strict requirements for the admission of these vehicles so as not to hinder or even promote innovation.
The decision to designate a special moped was taken within the ministry, at an official level. For this decision, the ministry based on a mandatory technical and an optional road safety investigation. Investigations were limited as directed by the ministry, with the evaluation criteria based on those of the Segway. This advice therefore only provided limited insight into possible shortcomings in the design, production or use in traffic. In addition, the advice was non-binding, which allowed the minister to deviate from this.
Minister endorses conclusions of the Dutch Safety Board
This painful conclusion of the Dutch Safety Board endorses Minister van Nieuwenhuizen Wijbenga. Safety was not central to the creation of the category of special mopeds. The focus was mainly on innovation and how such vehicles could get on the road as quickly as possible.
The RDW's assessment contained a number of imperfections, which means that the Stint has been approved in a number of aspects where it should have been rejected, namely the dimensions of the vehicle and the brake deceleration.
After the accident with the Stint, the (provisional) Policy Rule designating special mopeds (2019) was drawn up as a tightening of the Policy Rule (2015). Because the House of Representatives urged the minister to get a new version of the Stint back on the road quickly, a temporary policy rule was chosen. In terms of requirements, the new temporary admission framework for special mopeds included in the Policy Rule (2019) resembles the European admission framework for regular mopeds.
The decision-making process with the appointment of the minister on the basis of non-binding advice has not changed. It is unclear whether this assessment framework can be applied to other types of special mopeds than the Stint. The ministry imposed light requirements on the admission of these vehicles in order not to hinder or even promote innovation. The Stint was admitted as a special moped.
The manufacturer of the Stint did not know the procedure for the special mopeds category and at the time of the application was not aware of the applicable requirements and procedure for this category.
The Stint was specially designed in 2010 for use by childcare organizations. For example, the vehicle had to be able to transport ten children, it had to be easy to drive and drive to the door of the school.
The manufacturer did not develop the Stint for approval in a specific vehicle category. Only when he wanted to take the vehicle onto the public road did he start looking for ways to do it. The manufacturer tried to get the Stint on public roads in various ways. During one of these attempts, he was made aware of the special mopeds category. The manufacturer then sent the Ministry of VenW a letter requesting that the Stint be approved as a special moped.
Because the applicable requirements for special mopeds and the procedure had not yet been published and had not been sent to him in advance, he was not yet aware of this at the time. These only became clear to him during the course of the procedure.
Also read: According to RDW, Stint is not ready for public roads