the whole zone will have a 30 kilometre per hour speed limit, Source: Unit Yildirim / Unsplash

Bikes will be kings of the road in Bruges' city centre from now on

Bikes will be kings of the road in Bruges' city centre from now on

The city has turned 90 streets into a zone where motor vehicles must yield to cyclists

Yesterday, the Belgian city of Bruges turned 90 streets into a comprehensive cycling zone. The streets cover the city centre and make up a continuous area where cyclists will reign over cars. This is because local authorities decided, instead of making dedicated bike lanes, to change traffic regulations in the area.

In the bicycle zone, cyclists will have the right to ride in the middle of the road, instead of on the side, while cars would not have the right to overtake them. This way of making bike-friendly streets has been gaining traction in Europe for some time now, with many countries opting for the model as a quick and easy alternative to making dedicated cycling lanes.

In Bruges, the only thing local authorities needed to do is change signage and road markings. Now, the whole cycling zone has a speed limit of 30 kilometres per hour, while all motorised traffic should yield to the bike as the new king of the road.

The development would give Bruges a total of 13 kilometres of cycling-friendly infrastructure, making it a bikeable city.

Falling behind on the climate report

According to an official assessment published by the city, Bruges is lagging behind on its climate goals set for 2030. CO2 emissions have decreased but not enough and local authorities need to promote more roof installations of solar panels.

Additionally, the assessment points out that, while many households have become more energy efficient, dropping consumption, the primary mode of heating remains fossil fuels, which is a long-term issue that residents and the municipality will have to deal with.

In terms of emissions, research shows that they have dropped by 17% between 2011 and 2020, but that is below the targeted 20%.

When it comes to mobility, local authorities are actively promoting other modes of transportation. Bruges families are eligible for a 500-euro subsidy if they decide to ditch their car. The subsidy could in turn be used as a way to buy a bike or a subscription to public transport.

The city also promotes car-sharing between multiple households, with around 60 shared vehicles at the moment. Local authorities, however, want to grow that number to 125 by 2025 and 250 by 2030.



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