Cycling in Brussels: website lists dangers and provides support for possible legal action
Thursday, 05 February 2015
The people who launched the crowd-funding project “Offrez-vous un bout de piste” (Treat yourself to a path) set up a website called “Velodossier” in January. It was announced on Thursday that the website aims to map danger zones for cyclists across the capital. They also want to gather as many testimonies as possible, with pictures and/or videos, to provide support in case of future legal action to force authorities to create new cycle paths. The “Offrez-vous un bout de piste” crowd-funding movement ended in February 2014 after collecting 241 donations amounting to 7,720 euros. It was launched by Brussels residents, one of which is 30-year-old Joost Vandenbroele, who enjoy riding their bicycles as a means of transportation. The website was created by the same team and follows up on the crowd-funding project somewhat later than planned.
The funds raised were in fact used to set up the new website and will also to pay legal experts to “research all possible legal action to force the government to recognise the ‘right to safe cycle paths’. The experts started working together over a year ago and the team promise to provide “an update on legal action taken” after the summer.
In the meantime, individuals can use the website to share (including anonymously) their problems cycling in Brussels. The “danger zones” are traced on an interactive map of the city, with pictures and/or videos of the trouble spots. The site will also lend cyclists a portable camera to attach to their helmet in exchange for a returnable deposit.
“We want to do 2 things,” explains Velodossier: “foster a public discussion on the dangers of cycling in Brussels”, and gather enough evidence to “bring local or regional authorities to court.” The team explains they were inspired by the actions of a cycling association in Valence (France), when they succeeded in forcing local authorities to create a cycling path by taking them to court.