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The wheelchair ramp bicycle has an electric assist to make riding a breeze for everyone , Source: City of Hasselt

Small-town Belgium introduces bikes for people with disabilities

Small-town Belgium introduces bikes for people with disabilities

One of the reasons why Hasselt’s programme works so well is that they developed a cycling route for their special bikes

Recently, the Belgian city of Hasselt introduced two bikes for people with disabilities, who will now have a chance to take part in the city’s very own cycling trail, adapted specifically to people with disabilities. The bikes and the trail itself come together to provide a smooth and enjoyable ride through some of the city’s natural landmarks, like the Albert Canal, lovely picnic spots in parks, lakes and the historic city centre.

Cycling for people with disabilities

For obvious reasons, cycling can be a major challenge for people with motor disabilities, however, Hasselt’s new project shows that that does not need to be the case. With a bit of attentive planning and the right tools, panoramic cycling routes can be a thing for everyone.

The focal point of the initiative is, of course, the bicycle model, which can accommodate people in wheelchairs. First of all, it has electric ride assistance, which will make it comfortable and easy to paddle along the route. It also features a wheelchair platform where people can sit and enjoy the ride.

An important part of the platform is that it does not need a lifting mechanism, instead, people can just be wheeled in. It also has a lock to prevent accidents and allows those in a wheelchair to move off the bike easily if they want to, say to visit a restaurant or a park along the cycling route.

On the other hand, the main feature of the route itself is that it is relatively flat, offering very little in terms of elevation and it also lacks steep inclines. Yet, it takes people on a long round trip of the Hasselt area, passing along wooded paths, the canal front and more.

According to a statement by the city, throughout both sides of the project, authorities actively collaborated with the public on the issue. Furthermore, they consulted with the targeted potential users - people in wheelchairs, people who are less mobile, seniors and associations for people with disabilities. Through these consultations, the city was able to test the bikes and the route, getting proper feedback before introducing them.

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