What's new on 1 October?

Saturday marks the start of a new month. This means that a number of things change. You have, for example, less chance to win the lottery, but on the other hand, you have the possibility to apply for a subsidy when buying an electric bicycle, if you live in Brussels. Here's an overview of the most important changes.

Chances to win the lottery are down

For the second time in its history, the Belgian lottery has adapted its grid. The draw will see 45 balls instead of the usual 42 in the barrel. This implies that the chance to win the jackpot - when your numbers match the 6 numbers that have been drawn - is reduced from 1 in 5.245786 million to 1 in 8.145060 million.

On the other hand, winners of the jackpot (so-called first-rank winners) can always look forward to at least 1 million euros. If there is no winner in the first rank, the jackpot will be automatically transferred to the next draw. The Belgian lottery has draws twice a week, on Wednesdays and Saturdays, and sometimes also on Mondays.

Bonus for those buying an electric bicycle

The city of Brussels is to reward people who buy a new electric bicycle, or a special kit to adapt their existing bicycle and give it an electric motor. The financial bonus only applies to citizens who have been living in Brussels for at least one year.

The bonus equals 25 percent of the original price of the new bicycle but there are limits according to how much money you are gaining. The maximum is 300 euros for those with an average wage or 200 euros for those enjoying a higher salary.  Those earning more than 60,000 euros per year (before tax) can't apply for a bonus.

For those installing an electric system on their old bicycle, the bonus equals 150 or 100 euros respectively. The city of Brussels hopes to reduce the number of cars with this measure.

Antwerp tackles shoplifting

Those caught red-handed in cases of shoplifting will be punished immediately. The judicial authorities in Antwerp have agreed to follow the example of their colleagues in Hasselt (Limburg). Under the new rules, thieves will have to pay a fine on the spot, after having paid a compensation to the shop owner. The new rules only apply to products worth under 300 euros. In the other case, the offender will still be tried in court.

French traffic fines find their way to Belgium

On 1 October, a bilateral agreement between Belgium and France concerning traffic fines comes into force. Both countries will be exchanging data in a more efficient way. The consequence is that you can expect to receive your fine in Belgium after breaking the rules in France.

In the past, receiving a ticket in France for a parking offense, for speeding or for jumping the red mostly did not lead to an actual punishment as police tickets were not being exchanged.