Vandals bully off shared bicycles while Brussels looks on

5 September 2019

In the last few weeks, the shared bicycles of Uber, the electric mopeds of Felyx and the shared scooters of Hive, Wind and Tier have all been removed from Brussels (or parts of Brussels) at the decision of the companies that operate them. The reasons are always the same: vandalism, thefts and intimidation. Brussels MP Mathias Vanden Borre chalks the problems up to the lax Brussels policy.

Pure vandalism

The photos and testimonials on social media paint a very clear picture: destroyed bicycles, mopeds and scooters by the side of the road or even on the road itself, just a few short months after they were first put into service. On top of this there is report after report of thefts and even violence and intimidation against maintenance personnel of shared bicycles, mopeds and scooters. Pure vandalism, says Mathias Vanden Borre.

Good intentions, hard reality

“This is particularly regrettable for Brussels and its residents. I myself am a user of these shared transport platforms and I see what potential benefits they have. This vandalism is resulting in these good initiatives leaving after just a few months. It shows that there is a gulf between good intentions and hard reality in certain neighbourhoods where there is insufficient monitoring and social control,” the Brussels MP says.

Solutions are known

The new majority in Brussels is ignoring the problem, Mathias Vanden Borre says. “The underlying problem is a sub-standard security policy in problem neighbourhoods. Nevertheless the solutions have already been known for years. Think of neighbourhood information networks, smart security cameras or neighbourhood watches with the power to levy sanctions. Apparently the Brussels majorities are not prepared to make such efforts,” Mathias Vanden Borre concludes with disappointment.

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