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Can shared e-bikes be Covid-19 proof?  

Credit: Belga/The Brussels Times

While the people of Brussels start moving around more now that Belgium’s restrictions have been relaxed again, what measures are being taken to make sure sharing bikes remain Covid-19 free?

“Every bike and scooter is sanitised when it comes in, and then again when it goes out on the streets,” Benjamin Barnathan, Belgium’s General Manager of Lime, which brought 500 Jump bikes back to Brussels recently, told The Brussels Times.

However, even though the bikes are frequently cleaned while in the streets, there is no way of knowing whether or not the bike you want to unlock has been sanitised after the previous user left it.

“We remind people of the health measures in the app, in our newsletter, in our communication,” said Barnathan. “It is about them trusting us, and also taking their own measures and responsibility.”

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Additionally, by being on a bike, cyclists are adhering to the social distancing measures, according to Barnathan. “Riding a bike, you keep your distance from others wherever you go,” he said.

Brussels’ sharing bikes Villo! urge people to disinfect the handlebars and to always wear gloves while using their bikes, for your own safety.

Billy Bike, too, urges people to take their own precautions against the coronavirus, such as wearing gloves while cycling, but also takes additional measures to make sure the bikes are as safe as they can be.

“Every time we interact with the bike, we sanitise the four contact points,” Billy’s CEO Pierre De Schaetzen told The Brussels Times. “So every time we charge a bike, we disinfect the handles, the lock, the saddle and the chain.”

Additionally, it is standard procedure to completely wash the bicycles when they come in, he said.

De Schaetzen also referred to virologist Marc Van Ranst, who at the start of the crisis said that the chances of sharing bicycles or scooters spreading the virus all over the cities were not very high, saying that that was “not the main route along which the virus would spread.”

Additionally, virologist and interfederal Covid-19 spokesperson Steven Van Gucht also said that the spread of the virus via surfaces was not as great as they initially thought it would be, during a press conference on Friday morning.

Maïthé Chini
The Brussels Times