Cyclist zones are to be fitted with speed cameras, in new regional plans approved by the Flemish government. With no personnel needed to operate, the installations will measure passing vehicles’ average speed over distance.
It is not permitted to drive at more than 30km/h in Flemish cycling zones, nor to overtake a cyclist whether you are in a car, on a moped, or even riding a high-speed e-bike.
The trajectory speed controls are coming in to help enforce these frequently disregarded rules, “giving municipalities and police zones more and better possibilities to enforce the speed limit in cycling zones efficiently,” according to Flemish Mobility minister Lydia Peeters.
More people in Belgium are cycling than ever, according to growth figures from the Belgian Federal Public Service Mobility that show that since 2005 cycling has nearly doubled its share (now 14.1%) of commuters’ “main mode of transport”. It’s a steeper growth curve than any other mode of transport in Brussels, Flanders or Wallonia.
But that increase comes with a dark shadow. More cyclists were killed in 2022 than any other year too.
It is in that context that Peeters has made the move to deter unsafe driving and improve cyclist safely. She now has the platform for change as she spearheads a long-term pro-cycling campaign across the European Union under Belgium’s Presidency of the European Council next year.
With Peeters aiming for more than 30 per cent of journeys in the region made by bicycle by 2040, she must do something about ensuring cyclist safety and perceptions of safety to attract more people onto two wheels.
In January 2024 in Hasselt, Belgium will host a pan-European cycling conference for mobility ministers across the block. The pro-cycling focus is part of a strategy to “accelerate the transformation of our economy. It is an asset for relocating jobs, sustainable tourism and local trade,” according to Georges Gilkinet (Ecolo), Belgian Mobility Minister.
Cycling makes our cities freer and reduces our CO2 emissions.Georges Gilkinet (Ecolo), Belgian Mobility Minister
It is not an unsavvy choice of campaign, with bike sales expected to reach around 30 million by 2030. As Peeters points out: “The number of cyclists continues to grow, we are investing unprecedented amounts in cycling infrastructure, the bicycle is getting more and more space in the street scene and we are an international pioneer in constructing our cycling roads and motorways,” says Peeters. “We want to share our experience with others and show what can be achieved by making cycling a real political priority.”