Flanders aims to double journeys made by bike
Flanders’ mobility minister wants to see people in the region making more than 30 per cent of trips by bicycle by 2040. That’s one of the aims of the cycling policy plan proposed today by Lydia Peeters (Open VLD). She wants continued investment of at least 300 million euros a year to achieve this.
The Flemish government's previous cycling policy plan dates from 2016 and is “hopelessly outdated”, Peeters says, partly because electric bikes and cargo bikes have become much more popular, and because cycling in general is much more common.
In 2020, 14.19 per cent of journeys in Flanders were made by bike. To reach the 30 per cent target by 2040 “words like ‘murder strip’ or ‘blind spot accident’ need to disappear from the dictionary”, Peeters says, referring to unsafe bicycle infrastructure.
Safely to school
Cyclists remain vulnerable in traffic, with the number of cycling deaths in Flanders increasing: in 2021 there were 67 and in 2022 there were 73. The number of injury-causing accidents involving cyclists increased by 13.6 per cent last year.
Peeters wants Flanders to assume the “child standard”, meaning that an average eight-year-old should be able to travel autonomously by bike to school or activities. She therefore wants to ban virtually all motorised traffic from school environments and around cultural, sports and youth facilities by 2040. In addition, at least 125 dangerous intersections should be addressed every year to make them as safe as possible.
Under Peeters, the annual budget for safer cycling infrastructure has been increased to 300 million euros. Among other things, this should also allow for the elimination of “missing links” in cycle routes.
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