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Record number of cyclists in Brussels

06:41 09/11/2023

There have already been at least 10 million cyclist trips made in Brussels this year, setting an all-time record for the popularity of bikes as a means of travel in the Belgian capital.

Counts conducted by Brussels Mobility in 18 different places throughout the region show a steady rise in Brussels residents opting to travel by bike, Bruzz reports.

“But we have also installed more counting poles, so then it is logical that more bikes are counted,” said Inge Paemen of Brussels Mobility, explaining that while the figures serve as an approximation of the number of Brussels cyclists, they paint a distorted picture.

“We need to put this open data into perspective to some extent,” Paemen said. “Ten million cyclists, that's great news. But if we place more counting posts, more cyclists will also be counted.”

Also worth considering is that some cyclists pass by the same counting post several times in a day, so the counts are of bicycle trips past a certain post and not the number of separate, individual cyclists in the capital.

Nevertheless, the number of cyclists in general is still on the rise in Brussels, up 7% over last year, which saw a record 40% increase.

“We can only be pleased because this shows that our efforts to put in place more and safer cycling infrastructure continues to pay off,” said Paemen. “We must continue on the path we have taken.”

The counts from Brussels Mobility - 10,043,935 trips so far this year - also include scooters.

In 2020, 4.7 million bike or scooter movements were counted. In 2021 there were 6.8 million and in 2022 the number rose to 9.5 million.

The region's busiest bike axis is still along the canal in Molenbeek where more than 1,465,005 bike movements were counted. The cycle path on the Inner Ring was also popular, recording more than 1,264,929 cyclists or scooter users passing through.

Rue de la Loi also remains an important axis with over 911,105 cyclists and scooters counted so far and, considering its average of 85,000 per month in 2022, it is likely to cross the million mark this year, too.

Tuesdays see the highest number of trips on average and June this year held the record for the busiest cycling month. But it was 5 October, a warm and sunny Thursday, that holds the record number of trips recorded so far in 2023.

Brussels mobility minister Elke Van den Brandt (Groen) was pleased to see the growing counts.

“Road safety and decent cycle paths are essential to ensure a growing number of cycling movements,” Van den Brandt said.

“You can certainly link the spectacular increase in the number of cyclists since four years to the increased infrastructure – a success story, but the work is not yet done. We will continue to invest in safe bike lanes.”

Written by Helen Lyons