Belgium Invests €450 Million In Bicycle ‘Highways’

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Because of an increase in biking in the course of the pandemic, the Belgian authorities doubled its funding in biking infrastructure.

Belgium Invests €450 Million in Bicycle ‘Highways’

In the course of the pandemic, Belgium noticed a fast and vital rise within the variety of its residents driving bicycles and e-bikes. A lot of this driving happened on a collection of interconnected bike paths known as “bike highways” that enable riders to keep away from roads. Upon seeing the rise in ridership, the Belgian authorities took motion in a 3 pronged strategy to assist these riders. They took motion to extend cyclists’ security, enhance bodily infrastructure and make new coverage to assist biking. It’s an effort that we’re seeing throughout Europe.

Since 2020, the Belgian authorities has invested an enormous €1.4 billion in biking infrastructure. Evaluate that with the practically €680 million—nonetheless, a outstanding sum by U.S. requirements—the legislature apportioned within the five-year interval from 2014-2019.

Of that funding, €450 million was dedicated to the bicycle highways. The cash was used to develop the community in addition to construct new tunnel and bridge crossings.

In keeping with an evaluation launched by Belgium’s Inexperienced Get together, solely 33 % of the €1.4 billion has been spent thus far; they expressed concern that on the present charge of spending, 12 years will go earlier than the entire allotted funds are used.

E-bikes are rising in reputation in Belgium, a lot as they’re in the remainder of the world. In analysis printed by FPS Mobility, roughly one in 4 Belgians rode an e-bike not less than as soon as in 2023. In 2022 some 22 % of Belgians rode an e-bike, whereas in 2023 that quantity rose 4 % to twenty-eight %.

Greater than half of all Belgians—57 %—experience bikes commonly. Biking is hottest in Flanders, the place a whopping 76 % of the inhabitants rides. Amongst Belgians as an entire, 13 % of riders who don’t personal an e-bike are contemplating buying one. In Flanders 18 % of the inhabitants will get round by e-bike. That’s 18 % of the entire inhabitants, not 18 % of cyclists.

Studying about how a overseas nation invests in cycling-specific infrastructure feels a bit like studying a present-day fantasy. What a factor to have the ability to experience between places by e-bike with out having to experience on roads with three-ton SUVs rushing by at 50 mph. Only a few cities within the U.S. have an interconnected collection of motorbike paths that can be utilized for efficient, street-free transportation.

Hopefully, as extra tales like this make their manner into the media, our governments will start to see that bike paths are very like the Subject of Goals: Should you construct it, they may come.

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