Cycling is fast becoming a preferred mode of daily transport in Brussels, according to the Brussels Bike Observatory. 2021 saw a 10.5% increase in the number of cyclists during rush hour compared to 2020.
And though the Covid-19 crisis and various lockdowns was undoubtedly a catalyst for alternative means of transport, the general appetite for cycling continues to increase. A report from the Brussels Bike Observatory suggests that there has been an 11% uptake in cycling since 2010, and the amount of cyclists observed during rush hour has tripled over the past 10 years.
The Brussels Bike Observatory measured traffic between 08:00 and 09:00 at 26 key intersections in the city.
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Electric bikes are becoming more popular, now accounting for 30% of bicycles used in 2021, according to the Observatory.
Although at first more common among male cyclists, electric bikes are now also catching on among female users, who in 2021 accounted for 42% of electric cyclists in 2021 – up 3% on 2020.
Despite the rise in cyclists, Brussels is not yet seen as a truly bike-friendly city, according to list compiled by Wired. Copenhagen is a trailblazer, with 62% of residents cycling for their daily commute. Amsterdam follows close behind and Belgium's Antwerp features in the top five.
Wired took note of urban mobility and how city planners honed in on cycling infrastructure and investment to promote life on two wheels. Although Brussels Mobility has launched a campaign to get more people on bikes, it seems that more could still be done to make the city easier to navigate on two wheels.
It is hoped that with more and more people choosing pedal power to get around town, improvements in infrastructure will come quickly. This will also help cut pollution and move towards climate objectives. The reductions in noise and boost in public health that comes with cycling are also considerable advantages.