In cities, this is a visible social evolution. Investigations by Belgian public authorities have confirmed this experience and visual perception numerically. In Belgium, 14% of employees now use bicycles to work. And the growth is regular, it was 11% four years ago. That’s the conclusion of the Federal Public Service (FPS) Mobility and Transport report. Key data was released on Monday, February 6, with the full report due on Tuesday. It concerns all companies, whether public or private, with at least 100 employees. True, the car is still by far the preferred mode of transportation: 64% of employees prefer four-wheeled vehicles. But this share is gradually decreasing, while the share of public transport (9% by train, 6% by metro bus or tram) has not changed. So only the bike is improving. Another lesson from the report: Belgium’s regions vary widely. Bicycles are popular in Flanders (20% of employees use them to work), but neglected in Wallonia (only 2%). In the middle is the Brussels-Capital Region: 7% of employees expressed concern.
14% of employees who “ride bicycles”
In Wallonia, where the car continues to overwhelm everything, there are three reasons why bicycle use is low: an underdeveloped network of cycle paths, rough terrain and low urban density. In Flanders, by contrast, it’s more urban and flatter. There are more bike lanes here, and possibly cultural influence from neighboring Holland, where cycling is very popular.
Finally, in the capital, Brussels, the big story is the demise of the car. This downward trend has been steady for 15 years. Only a third of workers in the Brussels-Capital Region now commute by car. Public transportation is now ahead of cars. This is especially true for employees working in the city center: 60% of employees commute to work by underground, tram, bus or train. But this is the fastest growing bike in Brussels for four years.
active business policy
Overall, Belgian authorities explained that the pandemic has made public transport less attractive due to fears of contracting the virus. But with the rise of telecommuting, it has also led to a reduction in all travel. In Belgium, 40% of employees now work remotely at least one day a week. That’s four times as much as before. So, as we say in France, there is an increase in cyclists, as we say in Belgium, there is another reason: it is an active policy of the company. 95% of employers now offer mileage allowances for two-wheeler users. On average, 25 cents per kilometer is nothing. The number of employees benefiting from this assistance has increased by 55% in five years. Total cost: more than 100 million euros. 73% of companies also offer covered parking. When we compare to France, we say the ignition is a bit delayed here.