Flanders seeks cycling surge with thousands of free bike rides

Flanders seeks cycling surge with thousands of free bike rides
Credit:© visit.brussels - Eric Danhier - 2017

Thousands of free test rides are up for grabs as part of a push by Flanders' mobility minister to boost cycling as part of the lockdown exit strategy.

Minister Lydia Peeters on Wednesday announced that a total of 10,000 bike rides with Blue-Bike, a bike-sharing scheme available in several Belgian cities, would be available to users.

The mobility minister said that the initiative aims to seize the surge in cycling use to encourage residents in Belgium to adopt mixed mobility habits.

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"In recent months, we have seen that everyone is cycling more, which is why we must absolutely avoid that all those people start driving to school or work again," Peeters said. 

The move coincides with a larger push from mobility officials in Belgium and across Europe to ease vehicle traffic as cities emerge from months under lockdown.

In a ranking published mid-June, Brussels landed in the top three of European cities to have rolled out the most measures to boost cycling post-lockdown.

"The Blue-Bike test rides can encourage people to discover partial mobility and convince them to get around sustainably," Peeters said.

The bike-sharing platform has locations set up in or near public transport hubs in cities across Belgium, with the aim of encouraging users to mix different types of transport and to boost park and ride schemes.

Gabriela Galindo
The Brussels Times

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