It is proven that cycling has numerous health, economic and, of course, environmental benefits. Minimal fossil fuels are used, the air is not polluted, and an increasing use of bikes reduces the need to build and dispose cars. In Brussels, however, there are still a lot of obstacles to overcome regarding cycling mobility.
“Brussels is becoming greener and more people are using bicycles or scooters to get around”, says Augustine, who is currently working at a local bike store. However, she also states that it is still quite dangerous to ride a bike in the city centre as some bike paths are on the sidewalks or in the middle of the roads. “Making the paths less dangerous would encourage more people to cycle”, adds the 26-year-old woman. Mobility Minister Elke Van den Brandt adds insufficient parking facilities or theft as further reasons why people are discouraged from cycling. However, five Brussels municipalities are already trying to tackle those issues.
According to the Brussels Times, the five municipalities are currently working on projects to improve the local bicycle policy in 2020 and 2021, five more are supposed to be joining them in 2020. Clearer traffic signs, safer cycling paths in busy streets or enforced speed limits are just some of the improvements the municipalities are going after. Schools are encouraged to offer a Cycling Certificate in the curriculum and to expand the lottery via which they can borrow bikes.
Getting people engaged in renting bikes is also one of the main aims of the shop Augustine works in. The 26-year-old says that if there is a problem with one of their bikes, they fix it immediately and meanwhile provide the costumer with another one. Therefore, it is always the same bikes rotating between the customers which leads to no waste at all. “We are at the height of ecology”, Augustine describes it proudly.
Howest: Journalistic portfolio – Magazine writing (Article 2)