Barely 5 per cent of Flemish cycle paths are safe

Barely 5.4 per cent of one-way cycle paths along Flemish regional roads meet the new standards of the 'Vademecum on bicycle facilities', the Government of Flanders infrastructure handbook. The Mediahuis newspapers wrote this on Friday.

The Flemish government's 'Vademecum bicycle facilities' describes standard guidelines for quality cycling infrastructure. The guidelines help create an environment where cycling is safe, inviting and easily accessible.

To this end, the Vademecum uses four principles: a high-quality cycling route network as a basis; an accessible infrastructure for cyclists of all ages; a growing number of cyclists and an increasing diversity of users; cycling infrastructure conceived from the perspective of the cyclist.

Last year, the Vademecum received a thorough update with stricter standards for cycle paths. For instance, cycle lanes along Flemish roads must now be at least 2 metres wide in each direction of travel. Figures show that barely 5.4 per cent of one-way cycle paths meet this standard. For two-way cycle paths, which must be at least 3 metres wide, that figure is 11.4 per cent.

Cycling paths in the province of Flemish Brabant score the worst. Barely 2.8 per cent of one-way cycle paths there meet the standard. East Flanders also scores poorly with 3.4 per cent. Limburg (5 per cent) and West Flanders (5.5) make up the middle ground. One-way cycle paths in the province of Antwerp are the widest on average. 9.6 per cent of the 1,309 kilometres of cycle lanes there are 2 metres or broader.

"If we want to guarantee the safety of our cyclists, safe cycle paths are crucial," said Flemish MP Annick Lambrecht (Vooruit), who requested the figures. "That means they have to be wide enough and clear. But, unfortunately, today, only a small proportion of our cycle paths meet this new standard, despite the high budgets that have gone into cycling infrastructure in recent years. So if Flanders wants to meet its set standard, much work still needs to be done."


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