Brussels to test out new ideas for secure bike parking
Two companies are set to carry out tests from the start of next year on secure bike parking, with space for 500 bikes across 100 locations in Brussels.
Brussels Mobility invited private operators to work on infrastructure for on-street bike parking, to fill the gap between locked boxes, private car parks and open, unsecured racks. Racks that offer a greater level of security are due to be installed from 2024.
“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,” regional Mobility minister Elke Van Den Brandt of Flemish green party Groen said.
"Bicycle theft is awful and a terrible disincentive to get into the saddle"
The region’s aim is to offer a secure solution using simple devices that are activated with a card or smartphone and locked to the bike’s frame with greater security than a padlock, Brussels Mobility said in a press release.
The Brussels-Capital Ixelles police zone recorded 1,570 bike thefts in 2022, with more than 600 since the beginning of 2023, l'Avenir reports. The figure is likely to be much higher, as many victims do not report the theft.
“Bicycle theft is awful and a terrible disincentive to get into the saddle,” Van Den Brandt said on Twitter. “So, alongside working with police zones, Brussels wants to offer a range of secure parking solutions, with creative operators.”
Operators Sharelock and Locky were selected under the project call and will each make their solution available on a trial basis at 50 locations in Brussels, with capacity for around 500 bikes. Their racks should be suitable for bikes of all types and sizes.
Locky was founded by two Brussels residents during the pandemic. “Because the streets were so empty, I didn’t dare leave my bike outside between rides,” co-founder Shady Cantarella said. “The problem of theft had become a real source of stress and a brake on my bicycle use.”
Sharelock is a French company that aims to encourage the use of bicycles in urban areas and has developed a network of locks that is already being used in several French cities.
The trial will start in the spring of 2024 and last for two years, after which the region will decide whether to make the system permanent and expand it throughout Brussels. Locations will be determined with the help of parking agency Parking.brussels, whose Cycloparking platform can be used to measure the demand and determine where the need is greatest.
© KENZO TRIBOUILLARD / AFP