Strapping on his armor over cityscape camouflage, bicycle messenger Karl-Heinz Pohl embarks into the most congested city in Europe, Brussels.
Like all big cities, Brussels is in constant gridlock. Automobiles all bullying there way through downtown, while cyclist try to slip through empty spaces dodging traffic in the transportation battle familiar to commuters everywhere.
In his short documentary, Brussels Express director Sander Vandenbroucke highlights the aggressive driving, disregarded traffic laws, outdated traffic systems, and the low (exactly one person’s part time job) number of people who oversee Brussels mobility agency, that have contributed to keeping cyclist off the streets.
Unlike other European cities, where cycling is flourishing, Brussels has seen an over all decrease in the number of cyclist on the road over the past 30 years. Roel De Cleen from the Federation of Cyclist Brussels points out there is one major reason to the decline in cyclist in Brussels, “it is due to the wrongful prioritization of vehicular mobility as the ultimate mode of transportation.” Cleen argues that many bicycle paths were eliminated with the promotion of cars.
Thoughtfully presented, Brussels Express is not at all an attack on motorist by elite cyclist with a disregard for traffic laws. Rather, the film dives into the politics and city planning that have created a culture of cars, and a dangerous steel maze for human powered transporters to navigate.