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Working group to look at possibility of cargo bike funeral processions

14:02 08/07/2023

A working group is examining the possibility of using cargo bikes as hearses in funeral processions to transport coffins to their final resting place.

Currently, no Brussels municipality allows the transportation of the deceased by bicycle, Bruzz reports, but the creation of the 'Funeral and Cemeteries' working group among the region's 19 municipalities may soon change that.

The concept has already existed for some time in several countries, including Denmark, the United States and recently France, where funeral home 'Le Ciel & la Terre' has been transporting the deceased with a modified, electric cargo bike since last year.

The bike is about two metres long, has a load capacity of up to 200kg and reaches speeds of up to 25 km/h.

Ahmed Mouhssin (Ecolo) raised the issue of bicycle hearses when referring to the tragic death of Fanny, a 32-year-old woman from Watermael-Boitsfort, who was killed when she was struck by a tram at the Cambre-Etoile stop on the border of Ixelles and Brussels-City.

“During the funeral, her coffin was transported by corbyciclette: an eco-friendly alternative to hearses,” Mouhssin said.

The Watermael-Boitsfort municipality allowed the transport exceptionally, but Mouhssin would like to see the permission made permanent.

"[The cargo bike] is a good alternative that allows a slow, quiet and peaceful funeral procession to the rhythm of the steps of those present.

"It further emphasises the importance of accompanying families by giving meaning to the funeral ceremony and adding a certain beauty that can offer comfort at the same time."

Minister of local government Bernard Clerfayt (DéFI) said there had been “no formal requests or enquiries from local authorities or the funeral industry about the use of funeral bicycles” so far, but a working group was recently set up in which the Brussels municipalities will cooperate with funeral directors.

But Clerfayt pointed out that the issue also falls under federal competence: “If the federal minister were to amend the definition of a hearse by not limiting it to a motorised vehicle - but staying within the restrictions specific to transporting the deceased - this would automatically bring about a change. The working group can look into this further.”

Written by Helen Lyons