The number of cyclists in Brussels went up by 15.7% last year, according to statistics from the Brussels Cycling Observatory, published on Tuesday. Since 2010, cyclists have been increasingly numerous on the capital’s streets, with an average annual growth of 13%. However, the numbers had decreased slightly in 2017 (-0.8%) after an exceptional year in 2016 (+30%), noted the observatory, which conducts four counts per year in 26 strategic locations in the region.
Growth rates vary greatly from location to location. The Rue de la Loi had the highest number of cycles, followed by the Mérode, Flanders Gate, Louise-Bailli and Couronne-Germoir crossroads. At the other end of the scale, cycles are rather rare at the Gare de l’Ouest, Emile Bockstael Square and Avenue De Fré/Chaussée de Waterloo crossroads.
The highest monthly increase in the number of cyclists in the capital in 2018 was 28%, registered in September, while the lowest (+2%) was in May.
According to the Pro Vélo non-profit association, which runs the observatory, the good results of the past few years are due to temporary factors (such as tunnel closures, the 2016 subway attacks and favourable weather), rush-hour traffic jams, often overcrowded public transport, and the arrival of new cycles on the market, such as electric bicycles (11%), folding bikes (8%), and cargo bikes (2%).
Brussels Mobility Minister Pascal Smet also attributes the increasing popularity of the two-wheeler to his bicycle policy.
“In five years, thanks in particular to the development of a real policy directed towards cycle use, the number of cyclists has doubled in Brussels,” he said. “These figures show the usefulness of investing in safe infrastructure. When you award more space to cyclists, you have more cyclists in the street.”