Five Brussels municipalities are working on projects to make cycling easier and more enjoyable from 2020.
Although cycling in Brussels is growing, it continues to be too isolated for many people to access, the Brussels-Capital Region concluded in its 2018 Bypad (Bicycle Policy Audit) analysis of cycling in the region.
“Unfortunately, many people are discouraged [from cycling] by a feeling of insecurity, dangerous spots on their route, insufficient space in apartments to park a bike, as well as theft,” Minister for Mobility, Elke Van Den Brandt, said to Brussels Mobility.
On this basis, Anderlecht, Koekelberg, Saint-Gilles, Woluwe-Saint-Pierre and the City of Brussels are working on projects to improve local bicycle policy in 2020 and 2021, with the support of Brussels Mobility.
The municipality of Anderlecht wants to prioritise infrastructure, road safety and to encourage residents to cycle more often. It plans to enforce speed limits, in some cases by making 30-kilometre zones more visible, to improve cycling path markings, to set up better cycle paths in already busy streets and to set up more bicycle parking facilities in public spaces.
Koekelberg municipality plans to introduce the Cycling Certificate to more schools, in addition to setting up separate cycle paths on major connecting roads and setting up more bicycle parking facilities.
“Now we can set clear priorities so that we can gradually evolve from a municipality where people only cycle to work to a municipality where people can cycle safely and comfortably with their children to the local bakery,” explained Koekelberg city councillor, Marie Bijnens.
In Saint-Gilles, there are a number of projects on the table. First and foremost, the municipality plans to set up a cycling path in the municipality. This will mean five new cycling paths by the end of 2019 and dozens more in 2020.
“To encourage cycling, we are also launching other things; the lottery via which schools in Saint-Gilles can borrow bicycles will be expanded, as will the offer to teach children how to ride a bike in traffic,” explained mobility alderman and Saint-Gilles Ecolo councillor, Catherine Morenville.
The municipality of Woluwe-Saint-Pierre plans to improve traffic signs so that in some cases, cyclists can go through red lights. Pushing for a safer regional cycling route, Woluwe-Saint-Pierre also plans to bring more bicycle parking to schools and to metro stations.
Similarly to Koekelberg, Woluwe-Saint-Pierre wants to encourage schools to offer the Cycling Certificate in the curriculum.
The City of Brussels is focusing on the development of a 30-kilometre speed limit zone, with a view to making cycling safer. In addition, Brussels city wants to increase the presence of police where road safety is concerned.
“With two-thirds of journeys shorter than five kilometres, the bicycle is a suitable and efficient means of transport in Brussels,” said Van Den Brandt, adding, however, that “good cooperation amongst the municipalities and a smart bicycle policy can overcome these difficulties.”
Five additional municipalities will also be able to work on projects to improve their local bicycle policies in 2020.
The Brussels Times