Cyclists no longer have priority at all crossings
On several places in Flanders the priority regulation for bike-riders at crossings will change, giving motorized traffic priority to bicycle-riders. On spots where cars until now had to stop to give priority to cyclists, the situation is now just the other way around: the so-called ‘shark’s teeth’ are pointing in the opposite direction and cyclists have to stop to let cars pass by.
In Leuven, for instance, the situation evoked furious reactions on Twitter. “A clear demonstration of contempt for cyclists”, Tom Broos wrote. “Car drivers come first, even on places where thousands of children and students are passing daily.”
Anton Decoster of the agency for roads and traffic (Agentschap Wegen en Verkeer) explains the change. “On junctions in Flanders with a crossing-place for cyclists sometimes car drivers have priority, sometimes cyclists have. Until now there was no consistence and this caused confusion. That is why we decided to change the situation.”
“On a bicycle path next to a junction and not parallel with a priority road for cars, cyclists no longer have priority”, Decoster explains. “There will be a symbol of a bicycle on the road, together with white blocks and ‘shark’s teeth’. We do understand that bike-riders aren’t happy with the new arrangement, but uniformity is crucial.”
Mobility expert and politician for political party Groen in Leuven, Wouter Florizoone, calls the situation absurd. Leuven’s Alderman of the public works department, Dirk Robbeets (sp.a), agrees: “a fluent car flow seems more important than the safety for cyclists. The new regulation causes dangerous and confusing situations. It is contrary to a safe, livable and sustainable mobility policy.”