The share of bicycles in the number of journeys made in Brussels in 2019 was 8.9% higher than in 2018, continuing the growth seen in the last decade, according to the latest report from the Bicycle Observatory, part of the Brussels region’s mobility agency.
The figures represent the share of bicycles in rush hour traffic, a figure that has been increasing at an average rate of 13% per year since 2010. In 2016 and 2017 the growth was there, but considerably lower. The proportion rose again in 2018 by no less than 16%, and again last year.
The measurements are carried out by members of the non-profit group ProVelo, who take note of numbers at 26 fixed points during rush hour on four occasions in the year, to allow for seasonal variations. The numbers are collated by Bruxelles Mobilité.
The survey revealed some other trends. The use of electrically-assisted bicycles is on the rise, especially for home-work travel. Having had a 12% share in 2018, they went up to 20% in 2019.
Another recent development is the arrival of the cargo bike. Having been virtually unheard of in Brussels five years ago, they now account for 4% of two-wheeled traffic. They seem particularly attractive to families with children: while they took a 12% share of that segment in 2018, they have now gone up to more than 30% of all bicycles adapted for the carriage of children.
“There’s still a good deal of work to be done in terms of infrastructure and security of parking, to make the bicycle more accessible to all, especially in the more disadvantaged areas,” said the region’s mobility minister, Elke Van den Brandt (Groen). “But we are on our way, and we have never been more motivated.!
On the point of infrastructure, the Observatory report points out that advances in the creation of cycle infrastructure, such as a new cycle path on the Avenue Franklin Roosevelt, has a major influence on the growth of bicycle presence in traffic. As well as that priority, another needs to be measures to improve the safety of cyclists, to allow “a safe cohabitation between the various modes of transport,” the report concludes.