At the Velo-city conference in Lisbon, Brussels Minister of Mobility Elke Van den Brandt (Groen) received this year’s award for the promotion of cycling from the Cycling Embassy of Denmark.
The award recognises individuals who show leadership in the field of cycling promotion and who have taken outstanding decisions to strengthen the role of the bicycle, according to a press release.
“I am very honoured to receive this prize. It’s a prize I share with the many thousands of Brussels residents who choose an alternative and thus join the fight against air pollution and car pressure in our city,” said Van den Brandt.
“I would also like to explicitly thank my predecessors Bruno De Lille, Pascal Smet and Bianca Debaets, who helped lay the foundation for the change that is taking place in Brussels. Brussels is really becoming a city on a human scale, and that has not gone unnoticed here either.”
Van den Brandt received the award because of the various efforts she’s taken to encourage residents to choose a bicycle as their primary means of transport.
Earlier this week, she unveiled a plan to triple the use of bicycles by the city’s residents by 2030.
While critics said it doesn’t adequately tackle Brussels’ problem of rampant bike theft, they celebrated other aspects of the plan as markers of significant progress.
Some of those aspects include a bicycle registration system to help connect owners with recovered stolen bicycles, education and awareness campaigns, and adding more bicycle police agents.
Van den Brandt has also prioritised road safety in the Belgian capital, introducing a generalised 30-kph zone.
She received the award “because of the clear choices she made to redistribute public space in Brussels in favour of active road users, which led to the exceptional increase of the number of cyclists in Brussels by more than 60 percent,” reads a press release from the Groen party.
This is the third award that Van den Brandt has received this year.
An international initiative for sustainable mobility chose her as its hero of 2021 for giving public space back to the people.
Also in 2021, the European Road Victims’ Federation declared her the #0by30 champion, an award that recognises people committed to drastically reducing road casualties.
Velo-city is the largest cycling conference in the world and is organised annually by the European Cyclists’ Federation, this year in cooperation with the city of Lisbon. Van den Brandt was listed prominently as a speaker for the conference.
The Cycling Promotion Award is presented by the Cycling Embassy of Denmark, a Danish organisation that encourages urban cycling policies around the world.