The Rising Popularity of Cycling to Work in Belgium: A Comprehensive Analysis
The Scoop on Cycling
Recent studies indicate a substantial increase in the use of bicycles for commuting to work in Belgium, particularly in Wallonia and Brussels. Over a four-year period, Wallonia saw a near 50% increase in cycling commutes, while Brussels experienced a rise of 65.5%. According to a survey by Acerta, one in six workers receive a commuting allowance for cycling to work, a figure projected to rise to 16.65% by May 2023. The study covered 320,000 workers ahead of Mobility Week and revealed that in recent months, workers have cycled an average of 11.25 km per day, qualifying them for a 46.5€ allowance. Notably, this upswing in cycling is not limited to work commutes; the number of journeys to school and local shops by bicycle is also climbing sharply.
Leasing a Bicycle: A Rising Trend
In addition to the rise in cycling commutes, bicycle leasing is also gaining popularity. A 25% year-on-year increase saw 1.62% of workers choosing to lease a bicycle. Leasing offers, now widely available through employers or bike sellers, are becoming increasingly advantageous with efficient services. Leasing a bicycle enables users to use a high-end bicycle for a monthly fee ranging from 50 to 100 euros for the chosen electric bike, and between 150 and 300 euros for speed-pedelecs. These leasing options often include insurance and support in case of problems, offering daily cyclists a safe and reliable option to maintain fitness and contribute to environmental sustainability.
The Future Looks Bright for Cycling
With the combination of fitness, environmental sustainability, and attractive leasing options, the move towards cycling for commuting and local trips is clearly growing. This trend is expected to continue, with more workers projected to avail of cycling allowances and leasing options in the future. A study by SD Worx showed that despite some decrease in distances traversed by cyclists and in the number of workers receiving a bicycle allowance in 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the overall figures for commuter cycling are on the rise across Belgium. The future of cycling in Belgium looks bright, with more people cycling to work and getting reimbursed for it. It’s expected that the rising price of gasoline might deter more individuals from driving, making cycling an increasingly appealing alternative.
Cycling Allowance: An Encouraging Incentive
The bicycle allowance in Belgium, given to employees who regularly commute to work using this mode of transportation, is a significant factor encouraging this trend. To claim the allowance, individuals send a signed declaration to their employers stating that they use a bicycle for commuting and the distance they travel. From July 1, 2022, the bicycle allowance in Belgium will increase from EUR 0.10 per kilometer traveled to EUR 0.20, with a maximum of EUR 8 or 40 kilometers on a two-way trip per working day granted. This fiscal incentive is set to further boost the popularity of cycling.
Health and Environment: Motivating Factors for Cycling
Beyond the economic incentives, cycling to work offers a range of benefits both for individual health and for the environment. The World Health Organization recommends 150-300 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity per week for adults, and cycling can contribute significantly to this target. Regular cyclists are 46% less likely to develop heart diseases and 52% less likely to die from such conditions. From an environmental perspective, opting to cycle reduces carbon emissions, contributing to wider efforts to combat climate change.
The Road Ahead
The rising popularity of cycling commutes in Belgium represents a significant shift in transport habits and highlights the potential of this mode of transport to contribute to health, environmental sustainability, and economic efficiency. As more workers avail of cycling allowances and leasing options, and as the benefits of cycling become increasingly recognized, this trend is set to continue. Belgium’s experience offers valuable insights for other nations seeking sustainable and health-promoting transport solutions.
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