Corona: bicycle shops want to relax measures
Traxio, the professional association of the automobile trade, which also has a department dealing with two-wheeled vehicles, is asking the Belgian government to relax the rules on the sale and delivery of bicycles. The sector is up to its neck in difficulties because of stagnant sales and large stocks, it says in a press release.
Middle of the peak period
Spring is the only peak period of the year for the bicycle sector, says Traxio Velo. “Almost the entire year’s sales are realized in the spring, and many previously ordered bikes are delivered.” Now, the showrooms are closed because of the coronavirus. Only repairs by appointment, online purchases, and home delivery are still allowed. “But you have to be able to ‘fit’ a bike,” says Traxio Velo.
That’s why the federation asks permission to allow test rides, delivery, and sales in a bicycle shop, with respect for hygiene and social distancing. Without loosening the rules, there is a threat of an “enormous economic ravage” among bicycle dealers, manufacturers, and wholesalers, it says.
Now that the car can only be used for so-called ‘essential journeys’, a lot of people use their bicycles. In Belgium, there is no perimeter for sports or physically related activities outside the home. If the rules of distance are respected, people can cycle as far as they like, as long as this is not done in a group.
Traxio Velo thinks that the requested relaxation of the measures, especially after the corona crisis, can help to promote the cultural change to use the bicycle more often for both commuting and short trips.
A growing market of e-bikes
Belgium has about 1 670 bicycle dealers, of which about 600 in Wallonia and Brussels and about 1 100 in Flanders. In 2019, 470 000 bicycles were sold in Belgium, of which 51% were e-bikes.
Traxio Velo is also committed to applying that the registration of speed pedelecs can be made online. A license plate for a speed pedelec can still not be demanded digitally. However, the FPS mobility offices or so-called DIV offices are currently closed.
In any case, for company and leasing companies, in particular, going to the local DIV offices causes unnecessary costs and loss of time. Last year, 13 416 speed pedelecs were registered in Belgium, an increase of 40% compared to 2018.