Road safety and cyclist action groups have called on the Brussels Capital Region to make physically separated bike lanes mandatory in streets with speed limits higher than 30 km/h, arguing that these can halve the chances of casualties as a result of collisions.
In their petition, Heroes For Zero and Velodossier BXL said all streets where these lanes cannot be introduced on short notice should become Zone 30 roads, giving Avenue Louise and Boulevard Léopold II as examples.
“After analysing 17,000 fatal collisions and 77,000 accidents which resulted in very serious injuries, it turned out that physically separated cycle lanes reduced casualties by 50%,” the organisations’ press release read, referring to a study which was conducted over 13 years in 12 cities.
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They said this principle is in effect already written in the regional mobility plan "Good Move", and argued that “if Brussels is really serious about road safety, it should at least implement its own plan.”
The plan outlined that “cyclists need separate, traffic segregated facilities on high flow roads where the speed is limited to 50 km/h.”
The Zone 30 policy was introduced on 1 January this year, imposing a speed limit of 30 km/h on 85% of Brussels' streets, compared to 60% before the introduction of the policy.
However, on 15% of the Brussels roads, cars are still allowed to drive at 50 km/h or faster, equating to a total of more than 200 km.
The organisations referred to a fatal collision from earlier this year, in which the cyclist involved was killed on Avenue Albert in the Forest commune, where the speed limit is still 50 km/h.
“Last year, there were around 1000 (registered) accidents involving people riding their bicycle in Brussels,” the press release added, “a figure that is far too high and unacceptable. Nothing is worth more than a human life.”
The Brussels Times