Flanders working on "fast cycle routes"

The Flemish government and the provincial authorities of the 5 Flemish provinces are joining efforts to create so-called fast cycle routes, which adopt the principle of motorways in order to offer cyclists fast connections between different locations.

The Flemish Mobility Minister Hilde Crevits (Christian democrat) and her provincial colleagues signed a so-called Mobility Charter in the Leuven City Hall yesterday. The charter applies to the coming 6 years, and includes promises to keep investing in cycling infrastructure in Flanders. The focus is on fast cycle routes.

"We will join forces to have more fast and safe long-distance cycleways", Ms Crevits said. These cycle tracks are usually completely separated from normal roads used by cars, and don't have too many obstacles like crossroads or places where cyclists have to give way.

"In the past, it was thought that we only needed short-distance cycleways, but research shows that long-distance connections can be a trigger for people to take the bicycle out and cover longer distances, not only in their pastime, but also to commute to and from work."

All provinces have engaged in creating cycle links covering distances of 50 to 100 kilometres. Flemish Brabant province is participating in the GEN mobility project for cyclists, a network of cycle routes in Brussels and its Flemish border municipalities. In other provinces, the options include cycle routes on former railway beddings or along canals or rivers.