Flanders adapts cycling infrastructure to accommodate increased bicycle use

The Flemish region is struggling to adapt its cycling infrastructure in light of the increasing number of bicycles on the streets, as well as the growing variety of types of bicycles people use, whether for commuting, sport or simply hobbies.

1. Updated guidelines

To do this, the Flemish government has completely updated its cycling infrastructure manual, the “Vademecum Fietsvoorzieningen”, which includes the official guidelines for the design of cycling infrastructure that can be consulted by anyone who builds new public roads. or updates existing work. According to Flemish Minister of Mobility and Public Works Lydia Peeters, the manual will be “regularly updated on the basis of new knowledge”.

The intention is to take these recommendations to heart in new designs to build “future-proof” cycle paths, taking into account the different elements of the whole cycling family.

Lydia Peeters, Flemish Minister for Mobility and Public Works

Although the guidelines in the manual are not binding, it is strongly recommended that anyone carrying out work on cycling infrastructure, such as consulting engineers and contractors, follow them. “It includes guidelines for the choice of surface, the width of the cycle path, the construction of cycle streets and the accessibility and dimensions of bicycle parking facilities, explained Peeters.

2. Increased bicycle use

Compared to just a few years ago, bicycle use has increased enough in the region that authorities are noticing that measures need to be taken to adapt to the new flow. According to Belga news, the number of journeys made by bicycle has increased from 12.8% in 2013 to 14.2% in 2020, while commuting by bicycle has increased from 12.5% ​​to 16.9% over the same period.

“More space for cycling is therefore a necessity, and the new guidelines address this,” said Peeters, justifying the new recommendations for wider cycle lanes, which propose 2 meters for one-way lanes and 3 meters for both ways. – wayways. The waiting space provided at intersections will also be increased.

Along with the growing number of bikes on the streets, people are using more and more varied types of bikes and other soft mobility options. E-bikes, cargo bikes, scooters and e-scooters, and other vehicles that vary in size and speed, address the need for improved infrastructure.

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