70% of cyclists unhappy about materials used for paths

Summary

Most cycling paths in Flanders are constructed with cement, which eventually leads to vibrations and shocks to riders

Bumpy ride

Just over seven in 10 cyclists in Flanders are unhappy about the shocks and vibrations felt on the region’s cycling paths, according to a survey carried out by cyclists’ union Fietsersbond and the University College Odisee among 2,500 cyclists in 173 municipalities.

About half of the cycling paths in Flanders are made from concrete and many others from clinker cement, both of which require seams that become more bumpy over time. The materials are, however, aesthetically attractive and easy to maintain. According to Fietserbond, asphalt is more comfortable to ride on and cheaper. Some one-quarter of cycling paths in Flanders are constructed with asphalt.

More than 20% of the municipalities indicated that they wanted to repair cycling paths but do not have the budgets for it. Municipalities receive subsidies from the government of Flanders to increase the size of cycle paths and help separate them from road traffic, but not for repairs. Fietsersbond called on the government to provide subsidies for improvements to the comfort of cycling paths.

Public works minister Ben Weyts acknowledged that the subsidy policy could be improved. He is increasing the annual budget of cycling infrastructure in general from €90 to €100 million. But, he pointed out, he cannot force municipalities to use a specific material.

Photo courtesy Fietserbond