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Twice as many Belgians cycling to work compared to five years ago

15:21 16/09/2019

Twice as many Belgians are cycling to work regularly compared to the number from five years ago. In total, 13% of commuters are now cyclists.

HR firm Acerta carried out a study among workers at 40,000 employers across the country. The study also showed that, thanks to electric bicycles, people are willing to cycle longer distances. The average cycle commute is 9.4 kilometres one-way, about two kilometres more than five years ago.

Most bicycle commuting is being done in Flanders, where more than 15% of people cycle to work regularly. Antwerp is the king of cycling: one in five residents cycle to and from work.

In Brussels, 3.75% of commuters are cyclists, up from 2% in 2013. Less than 1% of people in Wallonia cycle to work regularly, which the study attributes to much greater distances between home and work and the hilly geography.

‘Hot topics’

Dirk Wijns of Acerta said that the environment and CO2 emissions are “hot topics” that have led to more interest in alternative forms of transportation in general. “This ensures that the bicycle is gaining ground compared to the car,” he said. “The bicycle itself has visibly ‘grown’ – just think of the electric bicycle and all the bicycle variants, like the scooter. The labour market is also part of the story, with an active focus on bicycle leasing. All of these factors together are having an effect.”

The study also showed that use of public transport is up by 51% on 2015 figures. While it’s a nice-looking figure, still only 4.2% of Belgians are using public transport to get to work. Brussels is to thank for it being even that high: Some 17% of Brussels residents take the train, metro, tram, bus or a combination of them to work.

“Now we need to wait and see what will happen with the mobility budget,” said Wijns. “Will that give a boost to a new mobility reality? We await the first figures at the end of 2019.”

Photo: Eric Lalmand/BELGA

Written by Lisa Bradshaw