Share article:
Share article:

Immediate fines for bicycle thief caught in the act

Photo by Helen Lyons/ The Brussels Times

The police will be able to give every thief they caught red-handed stealing a bicycle a fine of €250 on the spot, starting from 1 January 2022.

The new policy aims to ensure more action is taking against this type of theft because currently, the judiciary does not systematically act against them despite at least 230 bicycles being stolen per day, as more serious forms of crime are prioritised.

“Bicycle theft is one of the most exasperating phenomena on record. With this tit-for-tat fine system, we act quickly and resolutely,” said Justice Minister Vincent Van Quickenborne, who announced the new rule on Sunday.

“In this way, the judiciary takes its responsibility against this so-called petty crime that has a big impact on the citizen,” he added.

Often, because the crime is not taken seriously on a judicial level and due to the fact that, in most cases, no further action is taken, few citizens report the crime – it is estimated that only a third of bicycle thefts are reported, or approximately 30,000 official reports annually.

This leads to the creation of a vicious circle, as the lack of reports results in a lack of motivation from the police to seek out bicycle thieves, according to Van Quickenborne.

Related News


Alongside paying the €250 fine, of which the cost will be collected on the spot via Bancontact, a QR code or bank transfer, the thief will, of course, also have to return the bike and pay for any damage.

As, under the current system, the police first have to question the suspect when caught red-handed, after which the public prosecutor starts the prosecution, this system will result in “petty” crimes being punished quickly without overburdening the police and the judiciary.

Repeat offenders and organised gangs will not receive any lump-sum fines. Instead, because of the seriousness of the facts, they will be prosecuted and appear in court.

Part of a bigger plan

Combatting bicycle theft was also one of the key priorities set out in Belgium’s first-ever country-wide bicycle plan titled “Be Cyclist,” which the federal government revealed last week, and which aims to increase cycling across the country.

Several of the 52 different measures included in the plan aim to tackle the issue of bicycle theft, which particularly affects Brussels’ residents.

“If your bike is stolen, it is a major setback and it can cost you a lot,” said Minister of Mobility Georges Gilkinet.

Belgium’s bicycle plan itself also ties into other plans regarding the reduction of CO2 emissions, and the European “Fit for 55” initiative and a federal bicycle commission will be established in order to coordinate the cooperation with the regional authorities, as they oversee changes that relate to bicycle infrastructure.

Latest news

Increase in number of people ‘asking King for mercy’ through royal pardons
More and more people living in Belgium have been seeking royal pardons, mainly for fines, largely as a result of it now being possible to send in ...
England now accepting cheaper Covid tests from fully vaccinated travellers
Fully vaccinated travellers who enter England from non-red countries will only be required to book a lateral flow test to take following their ...
Re-introducing face masks indoors considered as Covid-19 situation worsens
Belgium's council of ministers will hold an emergency meeting on Monday to discuss the worsening epidemiological situation, and reintroducing face ...
Federal museums to receive €2.9 million booster shot
Federal museums will receive an additional €2.9 million in support from the government for the fiscal year 2021, of which the first payouts will be ...
European Parliament emphasises healthy food and animal welfare in EU Farm to Fork Strategy
The European Parliament adopted this week a resolution on the EU Farm to Fork Strategy calling for a fair, healthy and environmentally-friendly food ...
Threats of strike action could affect Brussels’ STIB network from Monday
Brussels public transport operator STIB's trams, buses and metros could be affected from Monday 25 October onwards as the union representing the ...
Number of international adoptions in Belgium continues to drop
The number of regulated international adoptions authorised by Belgium further dropped in 2020, continuing an ongoing decreasing trend. Last ...
Disaster drill with emergency services held at Brussels Airport
Around 300 people took part in a disaster drill held was organised on Saturday by Brussels Airport in collaboration with external emergency services ...
Austria presents bill to legalise euthanasia
Austria’s government on Saturday presented its proposals for legalising assisted suicide, in response to a Constitutional Court ruling that the ...
Brussels’ Museum Night Fever draws in some 12,000 visitors
Some 12,000 participants took part in the 14th edition of Museum Night Fever in Brussels, with the 29 participating museums filled to the maximum ...
Relaunch of 10,000 steps campaign to get Flemish people moving
The Flemish government is breathing new life into its 10,000 steps campaign to get people in the region moving after a recent survey found that a ...
‘No scientific basis’ for giving everyone third dose, vaccine expert says
The head of Belgium's Vaccination Taskforce has argued that there is not enough scientific evidence to support the Flemish government's decision to ...