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Saint-Gilles seeks cycling boost with free biking lessons

© Belga

Local officials in Saint-Gilles will organise three types of cycling courses for residents in an effort to boost active mobility as the lockdown lifts.

From June, residents will be able to sign up to three types of cycling courses: cycling courses for adults, courses for learning how to cycle safely with children and courses for cycling safely in traffic.

Saint-Gilles officials said interest for cycling in Brussels had spiked as the pandemic cleared traffic out of the usually congested streets of the Belgian capital.

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“During the lockdown, we noticed that there is less traffic on the street and there is more interest among residents for cycling,” Jos Raymenants, local councillor for sustainability, told Bruzz.

“Today, many people are interested in learning how to cycle, [something] which they wouldn’t dare to do in normal times,”  he said.

The lessons are set to begin in June and will take place every Wednesday from 1 to 4 pm, according to Bruzz.

The opening of the courses comes after several rules in Saint-Gilles and other Brussels municipalities were transformed into “cycling streets,” where motorised vehicles no longer have priority and must drive at lower speeds.

Authorities said that the changes will help citizens better respect social-distancing guidelines, particularly in densely populated neighbourhoods.

The changes are also in line with a larger regional mobility plan to significantly cut down on vehicle traffic in the Belgian capital and improve road safety.

Pro-cycling moves by regional authorities to create hundreds of kilometres of additional bike lanes have been mirrored at the local level, through the creation of dozens of “cycling streets” by local authorities.

Recently, the City of Brussels, which also announced it would invest half a million euros in new cycling infrastructure.

Gabriela Galindo
The Brussels Times

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