Belgium has taken the next step towards registering bicycles to protect against theft. The registration system, called ‘MyBike’, should reduce the risk of bicycle theft, with cyclists being able to stick a unique QR code on their bicycles.
The cooperation agreement was concluded at the initiative of the federal Minister of Mobility, Georges Gilkinet, between the federal governments of the Flemish Region, the Walloon Region and the Brussels-Capital Region, and can now be submitted to the Flemish Parliament. Flemish Minister of Mobility and Public Works Lydia Peeters explains: “We like to cycle a lot in Flanders, but if your bicycle is stolen, that is a serious loss. Especially if it is a more expensive vehicle such as a racing bike, an e-bike or a speed pedelec. The fear of bicycle theft should not prevent people from traveling by bicycle. That is why we are working with the federal government and the other regions in Belgium on a user-friendly platform where people can register their bicycles, to prevent theft and to encourage bicycle use even more.”
Unique sticker code
In the future, cyclists can request a sticker free of charge to stick on their bicycle, which contains a unique QR code. This code allows bicycle owners to store their bicycle’s data in a secure system, and be able to report it if any theft occurs. If thieves offer a stolen bicycle for sale or leave it behind, a potential buyer, finder or the police can immediately scan the code and identify whether the bicycle has been reported as stolen. “The main advantage of this centralised bicycle register is the unique code that’s linked to one specific bicycle. You can register multiple bicycles, and each will receive its own code. If a bicycle is stolen or lost, the competent authorities can also easily trace the owner,” said Minister Peeters.
Development of central register
The cooperation agreement between the various regions and the federal government must now be voted on in parliament. In the meantime, working on system development continues. The intention is that the federal government will be responsible for centralised register management, with each region developing their own user portal and help desk. Sticker printing and shipping providers also need to be sourced. The police are also involved in developing the platform. The partners are aiming to launch the new system in 2024. When launch time approaches, information sessions will be organised to explain the system in detail to local authorities and municipal prevention and mobility services, among others.
To combine forces
Georges Gilkinet, Federal Minister of Mobility has said the following about this anti-theft initiative: “Bicycle theft is a real plague. It is crucial that we join forces to combat it better. After the Walloon and Brussels Governments previously gave their approval, this agreement going to the Flemish Government is therefore good news. This allows us to offer this central bicycle register to cyclists through 2024. This system is an essential part in the fight against bicycle theft. Together we are stronger!” Elke Van den Brandt, Brussels mobility minister: “Experience in Brussels shows that the secure My Bike sticker will really make a difference. We also invest in well-secured bicycle parking spaces. Both projects are complementary and crucial in the fight against bicycle theft.” Philippe Henry, Walloon Minister of Mobility: “I am very pleased with the progress of this project being included in the Walloon bicycle plan that was adopted in 2022. The Mybike system, which will very soon replace bicycle engravings, is part of a global approach which aims to effectively combat bicycle theft and further promote mobility via active modes of transport.”