June 5, 2023

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VeloSafe in the future: We can learn this from abroad and this is what foreign countries learn from us | VeloSafe

Where Denmark – especially Copenhagen – and the Netherlands have always been meccas for cyclists, today Flanders seems to be leading the way. Outside he looks at our bike streets and our bike suits with wide eyes. However, the finish line has not yet been reached: in other countries there is also a wealth of good examples to be found of future VeloVeilig cycling.

Search for the most cycling-friendly country in Europe in any search bar and you are guaranteed to get an answer for the Netherlands or Denmark. Not a lie, of course, but Flanders also appears on that list faster and faster. “We even outperformed Denmark. Flanders is the second cycling region in Europe,” says Wout Baert from Fietsberaad, the knowledge center for cycling policy in Flanders. “The numbers support this statement: Census along major cycle paths today often records the millionth cyclist for this The year is at the end of May, whereas five years ago it was only in September. All this passion for cycling has not gone unnoticed abroad: Europe looks with admiration at bike streets, spinning schemes and bicycle allowances. At the same time, with our legacy of “paths Murder” and “Nothing”, we should still be jealous of the fine examples from abroad. This is what we learn from abroad and this is what foreign countries learn from us: Overview.

…our unprecedentedly high budgets for cycling infrastructure

Nowhere in Europe does more money go into cycling infrastructure than in Flanders. Analyzes by the European Cycling Union don’t lie: Flanders, with €411m in 2022 – regional and local resources added – biggest investor, Followed by Ireland and Norway.

… our bicycle streets with overtaking ban

The Netherlands also has bike streets, but nowhere are they so laid out as in Flanders. “We are the only ones who have a ban on overtaking,” says Wies Callens from the Fietsersbond. “This is enshrined in our law. In the Netherlands, for example, it is only ‘recommended’ not to overtake cyclists.”

Europe looks admiringly at our bike streets with a ban on overtaking. © Vertommen

… our bicycle allowance

The fact that employees here get money for the cycle to work is something they look at elsewhere with wide eyes.

… the place of the speed wheel in our cycling culture

Entering the corporate mobility budget has a tree Accelerators in Flanders. Only in Switzerland are more ultra-high-speed electric bikes registered. “No other country in Europe has ever built a bike like this,” says Wout Baert. “In the Netherlands, it has been forbidden to pedal for a long time on the cycle path. It has always been possible with us.”

… our distribution plans

Admittedly, there is a lot of media interest in Ghent, but in the meantime our distribution plans in Europe are being picked up. “It’s been named and lauded for its benefits to cyclists,” says Collins.

Separate bike paths in the Netherlands

“The Netherlands remains a pioneer in the field of infrastructure,” says Burt. “Our northern neighbors are number one not only in terms of the number of bike paths, but also in the way they are built. They have been working much longer and harder on separate ones. We are doing it now too, but there are still too many old bike paths.”

Bicycle bridges in Copenhagen

Copenhagen’s Cykelslangen (or “bike snake”) is a gem. The 220-meter bicycle bridge crosses the city and brings many residents safely to work in the city. “We can cycle between water and trees, but we still lack the functional aspect,” says the Cyclists’ Union.

The Cykelslangen in Copenhagen.
The Cykelslangen in Copenhagen. © Rasmus Hjorthoj / © Ole Malling

“15 minutes city” in Paris and Barcelona

In the ’15-minute city’, residents have all the essentials – from shops to offices, sports and healthcare – within a 15-minute walk or bike ride. “By organizing your city in this way, people are encouraged to bike on all those little trips,” says Callins.

Traffic light management in the Netherlands

Every cyclist in Flanders knows: it’s sometimes a long wait at the traffic lights. Better to arrange it according to the Dutch example, they go for shorter times but greener. “There’s even incorporated LED lights into the bike lane that indicate how fast you should be driving to be able to drive through greenery everywhere. And rain sensors in traffic lights ensure cyclists get the green light faster when it’s raining,” says Callins.

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Traffic-free center of Oslo

In terms of road safety, we still face great challenges and we can already take an example from Oslo, but also from Helsinki, for example. The Norwegian capital has put a lot of effort into making the city center traffic-free, which has resulted in lower accident rates,” says Burt.

One and a half meters in Spain

In Flanders it is also mandatory to maintain a meter distance when overtaking a cyclist in built-up areas. Outside urban areas one and a half meters. But in Spain, for example, motorists adhere to it. “There’s often more room there, so it makes sense to do so,” they note on Fietsberaad.

The huge space for pedestrians and cyclists in Germany

“And that’s thanks to the well-developed public transportation network,” Burt says. “Because as a result, there is less need for parking lots in cities and municipalities and therefore more space for cyclists and pedestrians, but also for green spaces.” Wes Callins: “In Copenhagen, too, they removed quite a few parking lanes and turned them into bike paths.”

Generalized region 30 in Spain and the United Kingdom

“More and more countries are entering mandatory Zone 30,” explains Wes Callins. “In Flanders it is recommended, but not enforced. A missed opportunity.”