Cycling and Driving: Traffic in Brussels

by Chikashi

There are actually things to like about Brussels. And then, there are things that I really dislike about the place. One of them is the traffic.

Brussels is always congested. It is rush hour all day long and sometimes even at weekends. Circulation is so bad that one cannot help concluding that people who are responsible for urban planning in Brussels are half-wits. Brussels also has the highest concentration of politicians and bureaucrats in Europe, given that the EC is headquartered there — just saying.

Belgium generally has one of the most advanced infrastructure for cyclists, with cycle lane networks covering much of the pint-sized country. That is, except in Brussels where there are virtually no cycle lanes. Combine this deficiency with a gaggle of frustrated motorists and you end up with an extraordinarily unpleasant city in which to cycle.

I used to cycle down to Brussels once a month. In theory it’s a decent jaunt. I pootle down 50km to get a haircut and a pint of beer, and pootle back up 50km. I no longer do because it is simply unpleasant enough to transform me from a cyclist to a violent psycholist in the middle of Brussels. This video tells the story well. Best watched in full screen mode.