Flanders carries out massive bike census for Week of Mobility


The Week of Mobility kicks off today with the announcement that Flanders is launching its first census on cycle ownership and use

Car-free days

Today marks the start of the Week of Mobility in Flanders, with the first-ever census of the region’s bicycles. Some 150 municipalities have signed up to count the number of bicycles on their territory by setting up automatic counters at strategic locations.

Cyclists can also download an app that shares cycling information automatically. “The more people who share information on their cycling behaviour, the more insight we will gain into numbers, routes to avoid or routes to recommend, speeds, origins and destinations,” said Wout Baert of cycling organisation Fietsberaad Vlaanderen. “With all that information, we can improve cycling policy.”

Flemish mobility minister Ben Weyts was an the opening of the counter in Zaventem. “We want to encourage the people of Flanders to travel at least part of their journey from home to work by bike,” he said. “Aside from anything else, it’s often faster going via the cycle highways than the motorways.”

The fietsostrades, or cycle highways, are high-speed cycle paths that criss-cross the region, running along canals or disused railway lines, for example, to avoid traffic and pedestrians.

Meanwhile, a record number of 33 municipalities have signed up to take part in Car-Free Sunday on 20 September. As well as Brussels, Antwerp and Ghent, the day will extend to Diksmuide and Ichtegem in West Flanders, Hamme in East Flanders, Lier in Antwerp province, Eppegem in Flemish Brabant and Hasselt in Limburg.

Other towns have plans to banish the car later: on 26 September in Kontich, for instance, and on 27 September in Sint-Truiden and Izegem. In most cases, the traffic-free streets will be given over to other activities, including go-cart races, bicycle repair sessions, markets and entertainment.