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Brussels hopes better bike racks will prevent theft

15:36 24/08/2023

Brussels Mobility has launched a call for projects relating to the design and construction of secure bike racks that will better protect against theft, and the first prototypes will start appearing on the capital’s streets soon.

French firm Sharelock and Brussels-based provider Locky, the two operators chosen from the project call, will conduct a test of 100 "secure bike racks" in Brussels from spring 2024.

The aim from Brussels Mobility was to close the gap between bike boxes, car parks and unprotected street bike parking.

It is hoped that the new bike racks will look ordinary but offer a higher level of security.

“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 because they are afraid their bike will be stolen,” the capital’s mobility minister Elke Van Den Brandt (Groen) said.

“We are obviously working with the police zones to combat theft and we want to offer a range of safe parking solutions.”

The pilot bike racks are described as “simple devices activated with a card or smartphone that lock on to the frame of the bike with a higher level of security than a simple individual padlock.”

The test racks will be available on a trial basis at 50 locations in Brussels with a capacity of about 500 secured bicycles.

They are able to accommodate several types of bicycle, including city bikes, folding bikes, longtails and cargo bikes. Pricing will be “attractive” for users, offering both single-use fees and subscription packages, though no specific prices have been provided at this stage.

“Sharelock is proud to have been chosen by Brussels Mobility to continue to encourage cycling in the city and support the transition to active mobility,” the French operator said.

The trial will last for two years, after which the project will either be discontinued or extended.

Written by Helen Lyons