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    What’s needed to cycle after dark in Belgium?

    Crossing on a red is just as illegal for pedestrians and bikes. Credit: William Murphy

    As Autumn settles and the days get shorter, a greater number of people are now cycling in the dark in Brussels.

    According to the figures from Bike for Brussels, 1 out of 4 cyclists in the city still rides without a bike light, despite advice from industry bodies and the city authorities saying it is a must. 

    “Unfortunately, we don’t have enough reliable data on cycling at night, which makes it difficult to assess whether it’s considerably less safe than day cycling. We suggest cyclists use lights at night, but the wider issue is that streets should be well lit,” Ceri Woolsgrove, Road Safety Policy Officer at ECF told local media.

    In order for a bike to be on the road in Belgium, it must have: 

    • A white or yellow light at the front and a red light at the rear
    • A white reflector in the front and a red reflector on the back
    • Reflectors on the pedals
    • Reflectors in the wheels or tires with a reflective side
    • A bell
    • Good front and rear brakes

    These rules all remain true in Brussels, regardless of city lights.

    If caught without lights, cyclists risk a fine from the police, Mikael Vaneeckhoudt of Fietsersbond told The Brussels Times. However, in Brussels, police often have other tasks, but you see fines issued often in Flemish towns, he added. 

    “In rural areas, people tend to get good lighting to see the road and to be seen as well,” Aurélie Willems, spokesman for Gracq, the Research and Action Group of Daily Cyclists told RTBF. 

    “In an urban environment, we think we are seen because the urban lighting is there, but actually seeing is not especially like being seen. So it is also very important to light your bike in an urban environment,” she added. 

    Jules Johnston
    The Brussels Times