'Protect our bikes': campaign denounces bike theft in Brussels as Grand Depart looms

'Protect our bikes': campaign denounces bike theft in Brussels as Grand Depart looms
Reports of bicycle theft in Brussels have doubled over the past ten years. Credit: Maxpixel

A Brussels resident is calling on fellow cyclists to "hijack" the city's online promotional campaign for the Tour de France, in an attempt to denounce recurring bike-thefts in the capital as the arrival of Grand Départ weekend sees authorities double down on their pro-cycling communications.

Counting down to July 6, the day of the first race, the campaign's website calls on Brussels cyclists to take over the city's promotional hashtag #tourensemble and pair it with images of their damaged or stolen bikes and with the hashtag #Protectourbikes.

The campaign was launched by Thibault Dujardin, who was prompted to act after he received a city brochure promoting the Tour de France and the use of bicycles in the city on the same day that he had his third bike stolen in less than a year.

"We experience the city as the capital of bicycle theft and damage," his website reads, adding that cyclists wanted "an end to the impunity" of the thieves and "accountability" for bike merchants.

While the campaign's main aim is to give local authorities a "reality check" about the difficulties experienced by bikers in the city, its website lists a series of proposals to improve cycling conditions in the city.

The proposals include creating more secure parking spots for bikes, making bike theft a bigger priority among local police zones or further developing online bike registration to prevent stolen two-wheelers from being resold.

Gabriela Galindo

The Brussels Times

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