Cyclists will come together this Friday evening and cycle across the streets of Brussels to promote the numerous benefits of cycling in car-dominated cities. The Critical Mass demonstration takes place on the last Friday of every month.
A "critical mass" is reached when the participants become so numerous that they reverse the balance of power in traffic. It also creates a safe space for the 'mass' of cyclists, as it protects its participants from traffic.
"Some would like to see fewer cars blocking the streets of our cities, others are concerned about global warming and the environment, (while) many are fed up with the health and safety risks that cyclists face," according to Critical Mass event organisers.
Sadly and ironically, there have been incidents where cyclists have been assaulted during Critical Mass demonstrations by aggressive Belgian drivers, yet these are isolated incidents that are usually brought about by those blocking car traffic to let the mass of cyclists past, and can be easily avoided.
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Critical Mass demonstrations take place in over 100 cities globally and Brussels in the latest city to join in the cycling parade.
The benefits of cycling
With increasing awareness of the harmful effects of transport on global warming, many are opting for cycling as a mode of transport. Bikes don't require fuel that way that cars and buses do, and don't release any C02 emissions. Moreover, it allows people to get free exercise every time they jump on the bike.
Brussels has not yet developed into a cycling city the way that nearby cities such as Antwerp and Amsterdam have, which are famous for their cycling paths. Yet as more and more people opt for cycling through events such as Critical Mass, it is hoped that urban development will facilitate more cycling in Brussels.
The Critical Mass ride starts at Porte de Namur at 18:00. While the route itself changes every month. More information here.