Bike traffic rose by 75% during first week of return to school in Brussels

Bike traffic rose by 75% during first week of return to school in Brussels
Bikes out in full force on the streets of Brussels for the annual Car Free Sunday event, which this year will be 18 September. Credit: European Cyclists' Federation

Cycling traffic surged in Brussels during the first week of the return to school, with mobility authorities reporting an increase in bicycle traffic of 75% compared to last year.

The figure revises upwards an initial assessment which had found that the number of cyclists had grown by 44% in the first days of the back-to-school week in the capital.

Regional Mobility Minister Elke Van den Brandt said that the figures showed a recent boost to cycling infrastructure in the city had proved fruitful.

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"The numbers do confirm that where you build more cycling infrastructure, the cyclists follow," she told Bruzz, all the while noting that the numbers also needed to be nuanced by the fact that many people continued to telework.

The 75% increase reported by Van den Brandt concerns the number of cyclists recorded on the first week of the return to school, from Monday up to and including Thursday.

As Belgium phased out the coronavirus lockdown, Van den Brandt announced the creation of 40 km of new cycling lanes as part of a strategy to boost active mobility while decongesting public transport in Brussels.

"We are going to continue our efforts to promote cycling with secure cycling paths, more bicycle parking facilities and campaigns to repair old bicycles that are lying unused in basements," she said.

At the same time that cycling traffic rose, vehicle traffic also decreased by between 4 and 8% during the first week of school in comparison to the same period last year, according to mobility figures reported by the minister's cabinet.

The decrease in car traffic, the cabinet reported, also reduce the time drivers spent stuck in traffic by ten minutes.

Gabriela Galindo

The Brussels Times

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