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Security is key The importance of protecting your bike against theft in Brussels cannot be emphasised enough, and investing in a sturdy lock is an absolute necessity. U and O-shaped locks are reliable and easy to carry around; chains and wires are breakable in seconds. When your bike is not in use, it should be locked to a fixed object, regardless of how long it is to be left unsupervised.
In Brussels, this goes even when keeping bikes indoors, whether behind the front door or in a garage. Thieves are known to sneak into homes when the front door is left unlocked, and they will also break into office garages. In the Brussels region, it is possible to have your bike engraved with your national identification number. This service is performed free on designated dates at police stations and communes, as well as at ProVelo stations.
Cut your losses If, due to distraction or bad luck, your bike still ends up being stolen, there are a few options. One is to file a complaint at your local police station or online.
It helps to keep an eye on local second-hand shops, the Sunday market at Midi station, local classified ads and websites such as eBay, as your bike may just turn up there. Get on your bike Drivers in Brussels are known to be rather laissez-faire when it comes to following traffic laws, and cyclists are no different. Cyclists are required to follow the same rules as cars — giving priority to pedestrians and vehicles entering from the right, and following street signs.
Bikes have the added flexibility of being allowed to ride in both directions on most streets. Do not compromise on your safety, no matter how angrily you get honked at to hurry along. The most frequent cause of accidents is the doors of parked cars being opened in the path of unsuspecting cyclists.
For that reason, bikes are allowed to travel about 80cm away from parked cars to the right. There are also indispensable accessories to protect you on the road.
They may not be the most glamorous accessory, but helmets are essential; wearing them is a better alternative to a head injury.
Another necessity is a bell, critical in drawing attention to yourself, especially to distracted pedestrians. Make yourself seen As a cyclist, it is important not only to see but to be seen. In Brussels, bikes must be equipped with a white light at the front, a red light at the back and yellow or orange reflectors on the wheels and pedals. It is mandatory to keep your lights on at night. Many cyclists also use reflective vests to improve their visibility.
Expanding your options For those with a longer commute, combining cycling and public transport may be a good option. Most metro stations have units where bikes can be secured, and in theory bikes can be taken on metros and trams, except during rush hour. As most stations underground are exclusively accessible through stairs and escalators, however, this may only be feasible for those with foldable bikes, or particularly strong upper bodies.
Bells are important too. Cycling in Brussels The Brussels region also offers a service of bike engraving. For kids, they even offer classes on biking in traffic with parents acting as sympathetic drivers. The theft of bicycles witholds lots of people from riding a bike in the city. Where there is a designated bike path, bikes are obliged to use it — though if it is shared with pedestrians, pedestrians have the right of way. Reflective vests and lights, for instance, can make a big difference, particularly when riding at night though most accidents occur during the day. The more cyclists there are, the safer the environment becomes.
Bruxelles à vélo
Every morning I would pass a woman heading in the other direction, wobbly and uncertain on her brand new mountain bike, helmet firmly fastened, reflective vests and lights all over, a look of terror in her eyes as if she was being forced to swing dance in a mine field. I realized in watching her, just how intimidating biking in Brussels can be. But trust me, it can be done! Rules of the Road For starters, you need to know some basic rules. Bikes are allowed in both directions on almost any street in Brussels. Studies have shown that there is no increase in accidents on these kinds of roads. Otherwise, cyclists are obliged to follow the same rules as cars: giving priority to pedestrians and vehicles entering from the right, stopping at red lights, and obeying all traffic signs.
BICYCLE IRISNET CYCLING MAP PDF
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Biking in Brussels