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Bike Parking in Brussels to Get Easier and More Secure?

Parking your bike is about to get easier and more secure in Brussels, if trials introduced from the start of 2024 prove successful.

500 more secure spaces, 100 locations

Adding 500 bike parking spaces in 100 locations in the European capital, Brussels Mobility has commissioned tests by two companies to look at “secure solutions using simple devices that are activated with a card or smartphone and locked to the bike’s frame with greater security than a padlock.”

The initiative aims to address concerns that put potential cyclists off transitioning to two-wheeled mobility. “In Brussels, many people would like to cycle, but they don’t because they don’t have a safe place to park their bike or they’re afraid their bike will be stolen,” Elke Van Den Brandt regional Mobility minister (Flemish green party, or “Groen”) said.

Bicycle theft is awful and a terrible disincentive to get into the saddle.Elke Van Den Brandt, regional Mobility minister

International identification data base needed to reduce bike theft in the EU

Lockdown start-up

The two companies that tendered successfully to be involved in the two-year trials are: Brussels-based pandemic start-up “Locky” and French urban biking champion Sharelock. Locky co-founder Shady Cantarella agreed with Den Brandt about the chilling effect that fear of theft can have on cyclists.

“Because the streets were so empty [during Covid-19 lockdowns], I didn’t dare leave my bike outside between rides,” Cantarella said.

The problem of theft had become a real source of stress and a brake on my bicycle use.Shady Cantarella, locky co-founder

EU action on bike theft still far away

How many thefts are there?

In the Ixelles / Elsene area of Brussels alone (a popular central area with a mix of students, businesses and affluent residences), police recorded more than four bikes a day stolen in 2022 (1570 total), and that is just the number reported. This has improved however, dropping to two and half bikes a day in 2023, according to figures reported by Belgian newspaper L’Avenir.

Disappointingly, The Bulletin has noted that only 56 bikes were returned by police to owners across the whole of the city in 2022, and astonishingly that figure was a 60% improvement on the previous year – only made possible thanks to a special initiative that involved planting decoy bikes to catch thieves.

Belgium set to use European Presidency to put cycling on the EU map

Pro-cycling campaigns

Den Brandt is currently leading or participating in a range of high-profile campaigns and actions to promote cycling as part of a sustainable mobility menu, and as a key economic driver, in Brussels and Belgium. These include engaging a range of international diplomatic staff to publicly endorse cycling and its benefits for health, well-being and the city, as well as a making cycling a key plank of Belgium’s European Presidency next year.

Source: Travel Tomorrow