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Belgian lockdown saw rise in work commutes by bike

The number of Belgian residents who use a bicycle as a means of transport to go to works has risen in 2020, in part boosted by the coronavirus lockdown.

So far this year, the number of workers benefitting from a cycling bonus grew by 4%, representing an overall increase of 20% in comparison to last year.

The rise was reported by human resources firm SD Worx, who said that the lockdowns brought on by the pandemic led workers to “rediscover walking and cycling,” according to a statement.

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While the arrival of the first lockdown led to a slump, with the number of workers benefitting from the scheme dropping by 16% between March and April, the firm said that the figures gradually picked back up from June, when authorities started lifting some restrictions and many workers returned to the office.

The company also said that the actual number of cycling commuters was “probably even higher,” since their data includes only workers receiving a specific and non-mandatory bonus from employers.

The cycling bonus has so far encountered more success in both Flanders and Brussels, where between one-fifth and one-third of employers grants the bonus.

In Wallonia, the firm said that the scheme’s growth had been more modest, with only one out of every then employers in the French-speaking region declaring they use it.

The amount of the bonus, generally of €47, is higher during the winter months, when the company said that the number of workers cycling to their jobs tends to drop.

“During the summer, there are more cyclists who travel shorter distances,” the company said. “During the winter, there are fewer people going around by bike but they cover longer distances.”

Gabriela Galindo
The Brussels Times

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