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Flanders wants to increase the number of people cycling

Credit: Flickr/Ivan Radic

Flanders wants to raise the number of people using a bicycle for functional travel to 20% by 2025 at the latest, according to the list of objectives from a partnership between Flemish mobility minister Lydia Peeters (Open Vld), the Flemish provinces, and the cities and municipalities of northern Belgium.

Currently, 16% of functional travel is done by bicycle, a level equivalent to that of Denmark. The longer-term goal is to catch up with the Netherlands, where that share is 23-24%.

The partnership, called “De Grote Versnelling,” or “The Great Acceleration,” calls for governments, companies, associations, and schools to promote cycling.

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Because of the crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, people in the north of the country are not only walking more, but they’re also using bicycles more often, a phenomenon also observed in Brussels and elsewhere in Belgium.

The Flemish government has decided to invest heavily in cycling in advance of hosting the World Cycling Championships this year, including the improvement of cycle paths and cycle highways.

Flanders will spend €355 million this year, to that end.

Beyond infrastructure, cycling incentives can include creating safe crossings for cyclists, better use of data on cycling, and working with companies to raise awareness about bike travel, according to partnership manager Patrick D’Haese.

The other two objectives of the partnership are to significantly reduce the number of traffic fatalities (aiming for zero traffic fatalities for cyclists by 2040) and to “bring functional cycling and sport/recreational cycling closer together so that they can reinforce each other.”

The Brussels Times