Pay more attention to cyclists and pedestrians, say the Flemish

Pay more attention to cyclists and pedestrians, say the Flemish

The rules on road traffic need to be adapted to give more precedence to more vulnerable road users, according to the motoring organisation VAB.

The VAB polled some 3,000 people in Brussels and Flanders, and asked them to rank five types of road user in order of how the rules ought to take account of their situation.

Among Flemish respondents, the order was pedestrian, cyclist, tram, bus and in last place the car.

Brussels differed slightly, in part because cycling is not as common in the capital, and in part thanks to what the VAB describes as “excellent public transport”. The order in Brussels was pedestrian, bus, tram, cyclist and car.

Among the measures the poll tackled was the situation at crossroads. Both cyclists and motorists are in favour of creating conflict-free crossings – where for example drivers have to wait to turn right while cyclists are allowed to ride straight on.

Drivers in the poll said they would be willing to wait longer at the lights to allow a conflict-free situation for cyclists – 88% in favour in Flanders, and 77% in Brussels.

Flemish people polled were in favour of all manner of accommodations for cyclists. One of those is the cycle freeway – roads where cyclists have priority, where cars are limited to 30 km/h and may not overtake a cyclist.

Public authorities are also in favour of cycle freeways, with nine out of ten saying they planned to create more in the coming years.

Other measures supported include broader cycle paths, and more bridges and tunnels for cyclists at dangerous junctions.

In order to create new and broader cycle paths, a large minority of those polled (40%) said they would be willing to give up one lane of the road, while others suggested losing parking spaces, or narrowing footpaths.

Finally, there was broad support for a range of measures concerning electric bicycles, including an obligatory training, a compulsory helmet and a speed limit on cycle paths, with 37% in favour of a limit of 35km/h, and 44% going for 20km/h.

Alan Hope

The Brussels Times

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