In response to an increasing number of bicycle thefts, Brussels Mobility has launched a call for innovative ways to park bicycles safely. From the beginning of 2024, two companies, Sharelock and Locky, will launch a pilot project with secure bike racks.
The new bike racks will be similar in appearance to standard racks, but will offer advanced security measures. The racks allow cyclists to lock their bikes with a higher level of security than a standard padlock, using technologies that can be controlled with cards or smartphones.
“In Brussels, many want to cycle, but many do not for fear of theft,” says Elke Van den Brandt, Brussels Minister of Mobility. “Cooperating with the police and offering safe parking solutions is essential.”
sharelock, a French company that focuses on urban cycling stimulation, has developed a successful system in several French cities with a network of 'connected' locks. These are accessible 24/7 via an app and offer cyclists the opportunity to reserve locks in advance.
Locky, founded by two Brussels entrepreneurs, has designed a pioneering, energy-independent and sustainable bicycle parking system. The material and design used make theft almost impossible and their solar-powered locks are manufactured locally in Belgium.
The pilot will last two years, after which the results will help determine whether the system will be permanently implemented and expanded. In collaboration with the Brussels regional parking agency Parking.brussels, the areas with the highest need for such bicycle parking facilities are being examined. Their platform Cyclo parking can be used to measure the demand for secure parking and locate the neighborhoods where the need is greatest.
Nicolas Louvet, co-founder of Sharelock, emphasizes: “Our involvement in this project is an affirmation of our mission to promote urban cycling. Our new-generation bicycle insurance in Brussels will help alleviate the fear of theft, which is often a barrier for many potential cyclists.”
Shady Cantarella, CEO of Locky, shared the inspiration behind their initiative: “During the lockdown we realized how big the problem of bicycle theft was. This inspired us to develop a sustainable and effective security system.”
The project, which also aims to promote active mobility in the city, reflects Brussels' wider efforts to support environmentally friendly modes of transport. In addition to increasing safety for parked bicycles, the hope is that the initiative will encourage more people to use the bicycle as their primary mode of transportation.