Free floating bike-sharing ‘banned’ before it arrives
In Flanders both the Flemish Cycling Council and the individual cities are working on legal terms. Antwerp already started a pilot project in collaboration with local company Cloudbike to study the possibilities and the conditions to implement those systems. Other cities like Kortrijk, Mechelen and Hasselt work with local startup Mobit and made strict arrangements.
In Ghent, where commercial bike-sharing is expected next summer, alderman for mobility Filip Watteeuw (Groen) wants clear agreements about the quality and the number of bikes. “We already have a bike storage problem, but I will do everything to prevent the situation to escalate like in Amsterdam”, he says.
All cities fear a proliferation. “According to what we hear, there are containers full of bicycles waiting for distribution in the ports of Antwerp and Rotterdam. If all the players get the green light, there will be chaos”, says Wout Baert of cycling association Fietsberaad.
At the end of this year Fietsberaad wants to finish its marketing research in order to hand over some tips for cities to develop reliable legal terms. “Commercial bike-sharing is not a bad concept”, Baert says. “But there are still lots of questions, like how they handle the data collected by their apps.”