Stop bike thefts

Bike theft is a serious problem in Brussels. It is one of the main reasons that causes people to stop cycling.

Bike thefts are increasingly recorded. However, the reported thefts are only the tip of the iceberg. CyCLO is in daily contact with victims of bike theft and even the thieves at its bike points. Rather than shrugging its shoulders and considering this an inevitable phenomenon, CyCLO wants to act. The website byebyebicycle was created in collaboration with other associations dedicated to cycling. It explains an antitheft policy for bikes worthy of its name. Other cities, like London, have a coherent policy that had significantly reduced the number of bike thefts. This policy is based on five pillars: support, raising awareness, infrastructure, engagement and evaluation.

Some measures have already been taken here and there in terms of raising awareness and engagement, such as providing information on how to lock your bike up correctly. However, in terms of support, infrastructure and evaluation, it is almost dead quiet. Bike theft must be analysed and monitored, more secure bike parking must be created and bike theft should be measured and evaluated.

Has your bike been stolen? Visit byebyebicycle, report the theft and share your story.

Bike boxes

In Brussels, it is not always possible to park your bike securely if there is no dedicated space for that in your home… So that those Brussels residents should not be forced to leave their bikes outside to the mercy of thieves, some municipalities in Brussels have installed bike boxes on their territory. A bike box is a lockable box that can hold up to 5 bikes of residents from the district. Rental for a space is around €60 a year, and €25 deposit for the badge.

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You can engrave your bike at any of the CyCLO workshops. At bike points, engraving is considered a small repair. Depending on how busy the workshop is, it will be carried out within 24 hours or while you wait. The bikes are only engraved on presentation of your identity card.

Look what bike engraving entails here.

The owner’s national registration number is engraved on the bike. And that is the weak link in the system as bikes are gifted, transferred and resold. For that reason, each bike has to have a unique serial number, together with supporting documents. If this is possible for cars, why not for bikes?

If your engraved bike is stolen and if, later, you see a person using it, it is not certain you will be able to recover your property. If the new owner bought the bike in good faith on the market (eBay is also a market), you will only have the right to buy your bike back for the same price the new owner paid for it on the market.

If your engraved bike was stolen and the thief visits a CyCLO workshop to have it repaired, our only recourse is to contact the police to find out whether the bike was reported stolen or not. Obviously this takes too much time. Bike repairers should have access to a database including all bike engravings. That would allow us to check each bike to see whether it was stolen. For that reason, we ask for additional information with each engraving so we can create our own database (for Brussels).

If the police find an engraved bike on the street or with a bike thief, they may contact you to return your bike.

The Brussels depot for recovered bikes

Sometimes bikes are stolen and then simply abandoned on the street. If the bike is engraved, it is easy to find the owner. If not, you may still have a chance of finding it at the central depot for abandoned bikes.

In the Brussels Capital Region, 16 municipalities have now pledged their collaboration to collect abandoned bikes on their territory at a central depot. CyCLO fetches the bikes, take a photo of them and adds a detailed description on Rather than having physically to visit the depots in the different municipalities, victims of theft can visit this website to find out whether their bike is at the central depot. You can recover your bike from the depot on presentation of your key or by providing specific characteristics about your bike.

After keeping them for 3 months (legal obligation), the bikes will then be renovated to make quality used bikes or completely dismantled for parts.

The central bike depot is located at Chaussée de Louvain 665-669, in Schaerbeek. It is only accessible by appointment.