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Cycling in 'Europe's most congested city' - a thought-provoking film from Brussels (+ video)

From couriers to transport professionals, documentary looks at how traffic came to rule Belgian capital and what can be done about it

Think of urban cycling on the Continent, and the first city that springs to mind is likely to be Copenhagen or Amsterdam; cities where large proportions of the population use bicycles to undertake everyday journeys, creating a streetscape far removed from Britain’s car choked city centres. But a new 20-minute film from Belgium, Brussels Express, shows that Britain isn’t alone in possessing cities where the car is still viewed as king.

Taking as its starting point the experience of Karl-Heiz Pohl, the founder of the city’s first bike courier company, the film includes brief interviews with figures including Klaus Bondam, mayor of Copenhagen from 2006 to 2010, who contrasts the experience of his home city with the very different reality he found in Brussels.

It also features local cycle campaigners and transport professionals who explain how Brussels came to be, as the film puts it, “Europe’s most congested city,” the effect of that on its inhabitants and pointers towards what can be done to change that in the future.

Beautfully shot by Sander Vandenbroucke - be sure to watch it full screen for best effect - above all it's a thought-provoking film, and one that will resonate with anyone who cycles - or perhaps even drives - in Britain's major cities.

Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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