Now that the spring is close, why no riding a bike? It is one of the easiest transport solutions. For distances under 6 km, bicycles are more efficient than cars. And for longer distances, combining biking with public transport is the best alternative to driving. But what is the state of cycling in the Grand Duchy? What are the resources put in place to make bicycles easier to use?
Compared to cities at the head of the pack in Europe such as Amsterdam or Copenhagen, Luxembourg City is not so far behind. Local authorities have adopted a policy in favour of soft mobility and bicycles now play an important role in the daily lives of Luxembourg residents. Today, more than a million of bicycles are counted per year at the 13 checkpoints located on the streets of the capital.
The situation of Luxembourg City is not an exception. With more than 280,000 bicycles used in 2017, the whole country is bike-friendly. According to the Eco-Counter Worldwide Cycling Index 2018, the Grand Duchy is the first country with Italy which has the best progression of bicycle traffic between 2016 and 2017 (+10%). More than 600 km of cycle paths – 139 in Luxembourg City - are currently available on the national territory and this number should increase to 900 km in the next five years.
There are several self-service bicycle companies in Luxembourg. The rental system is very simple: you borrow a bicycle for a fee and you re-deposit it at another station. The main cities of the country are equipped with self-service bicycles on the principle of bike-sharing.
In Luxembourg City, the vel’Oh! self-service rental bike system is a real success story. Available 24/7 at a super cheap price – you can rent a bike for 2 € for one day and 18 € for an annual subscription (the first half hours are free) -, the system has an increasing number of subscribers (7,819 in 2018) and 86 rental stations located in the town and the surrounding communes (Bertrange, Hesperange and Strassen). Since the end of the year 2018, the vel’Oh! stations are gradually equipped with electric bicycles. These new electrically-assisted bikes called pedelecs – 600 out of a total of 850 - have an autonomy of 30 to 40 km and help you to accelerate up to a maximum of 25 km per hour. Luxembourg is the second city in Europe, after Stockholm, to introduce such bikes.
Similarly, the association “Vélo en Ville” located in the Grund allows you to rent bikes and tandems for the whole family. You can have 20% discounts on bike rental prices per day, weekend or week for groups from 4 people, children and young people under 26 years old.
In the Grand Duchy, bikes are carried on buses and trains free of charge. You are allowed to take your bicycle on any bus adequately equipped and on any national CFL train provided that you load and unload your bike yourself. Moreover, you can leave your bike at the station in a dry and secure place by using an mBox. You can find these secure parking boxes near 32 stations in the country. To get access to an mBox, you have to order it in the mShop and charge it on your mKaart – if you have one – at one of the numerous Pick Up stations.
As a cyclist, you have to follow a certain number of rules. First of all, you have to ride on bicycle paths. There are three types of paths especially designed for cyclists: separated bike path, mandatory bike lane on the road and mandatory path for cyclists and pedestrians. You are allowed to ride in pedestrian zones if there is a special sign. Usually it is also marked when you can ride there: permanently, during or excluding certain hours. In certain cases, if there is a special sign, you can ride on unidirectional streets in both directions. If nothing is marked on the road, you have to ride on the very right side of the road. The following things are forbidden: riding on pavement, touching other cyclists while riding, releasing the steering bar with two hands simultaneously and riding more than two cyclists in one line.
By contrast, there is no specific parking rules for bicycles. You can park everywhere as long as your bike doesn’t hamper with other vehicles and pedestrians to pass. In the cities, and Luxembourg City in particular, there are plenty of bicycle racks. It is better to live your bike there but you are not obliged to use them. The helmet is not included into the list of the compulsory equipment but it is highly recommended to wear it.
So, what do you wait to ride a bike? Biking is good your wallet, your health, your quality of life and the environment. The only thing you risk is having a bike addiction. The more you cycle, the less you will want to return to other forms of transport.
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