The city of Antwerp will speed up the construction of 19 km in new bicycle streets to guarantee social distancing for cyclists and improve the flow of bicycle traffic this summer.
From 8 June, the works on the first streets will start, and most of them should be done before the summer. By September, the entire 19 km should be rolled out.
However, the characteristic red colour of the streets, which signals to other road users that the street prioritises cyclists, will not be ready yet, because of the accelerated roll-out.
The structural construction of the streets, however, will be prepared, so that cyclists will immediately have more space, in the context of the coronavirus crisis and the mandatory social distancing.
"We are constructing these bicycle lanes faster than planned because they meet a need," Antwerp alderman for Mobility Koen Kennis told Gazet van Antwerpen.
"Cycling is on the increase in Antwerp, and by extending the network of bicycle streets by 19 kilometres, we are ensuring a smooth flow of traffic for cyclists. At the same time, we are spreading bicycle traffic throughout the city, making it easier for cyclists to apply social distancing," he added.
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The new bicycle streets will be connected to each other, and to existing bicycle streets, as much as possible. The exact route will be determined by the different city districts, reports NewMobility.
In a bicycle street, cyclists are allowed to use the entire width of the lane in their direction of travel, and half the width along the right-hand side if there is two-way traffic. The maximum speed for motorised vehicles is 30 km/hour, and they are not allowed to overtake cyclists.
Currently, Antwerp possessed about 4.5 km of bicycle streets, to be increased to 23.5 km after the summer.
In a similar move, Brussels also rolled out 40 km of cycling paths to prepare for the phase-out of the lockdown in April.
The Brussels Times