Leuven has the ambition to become the number one bicycle city of Belgium. In order to lead by example, the city council purchased additional bicycles and e-bikes which can be used by their personnel during working hours. KU Leuven followed by expanding its offer of bicycles and adding electric cargo bikes for their technical and logistics service.
About 33% of Stad Leuven's employees come to work by bicycle and can use their own bicycle during working hours in order to travel between the city's services. "We encourage our personnel to come to work by bike by providing a financial compensation, showers and so on. But this doesn't serve everyone. For those who use alternative methods to come to work, we now have these new bikes which can be used to make local trips to the city's different services", Council member Carl Devlies mentions.
Stad Leuven purchased 32 extra bicycles, of which 20 are e-bikes. "The new circulation plan is inviting for bicycles", Council member Mohamed Ridouani says. "Soon we'll also purchase cargo bikes so our employees can also carry out small deliveries by bike."
© KU Leuven - Rob Stevens
University staff members will soon have their daily mail delivered to them by e-bike. The technical intervention staff, too, is using electric bicycles more and more often. “Mobility is always a concern for us,” says Steven Lesage, head of Facility Services. “Our staff members are often stuck in traffic, and the new traffic circulation plan has not made driving to various destinations in the Leuven city centre any easier, especially because traffic on the ring road is often very heavy. We are committed to delivering mail on time – with a fifteen-minutes’ margin – but this was becoming more and more difficult to accomplish.”
“We have bought a total of thirty e-bikes for the work-related travel of the Technical Services staff,” says sustainable mobility coordinator Karen De Geyndt. “We have also bought eight cargo bicycles for the Facility Services, meant for the staff members of the workshops and campus service. In the waterproof cargo box they can transport their toolkit and other small items. For the Central Logistic Services three cargo bicycles have been ordered: these can transport up to 100 kilos and will be used to deliver the mail."
And how are the staff members reacting? Positively, it turns out. “They were involved in selecting the bicycles and designing the cargo boxes. I now see people riding a bicycle who hadn’t ridden one in fifteen years. It’s an added benefit that they’re now getting a bit of exercise. All staff members of the Technical Services were also given the opportunity to follow a training on safely riding a bicycle. This training, which we organized in collaboration with VAB, was found very useful. The users of an e-bike will also receive a helmet, safety vest, gloves, and rainwear.