Ghent: ‘longer green light for cyclists on rainy days’
Ghent Alderman for Mobility, Filip Watteeuw (Groen), wants to make cycling more comfortable – also when it rains – by giving cyclists priority at the traffic lights. Traffic lights will be equipped with sensors to ‘detect’ when it rains and cyclists are approaching.
The concept is already used is some Scandinavian cities, like in Copenhagen, and in Rotterdam, where cyclists never have to stand still for more than 40 seconds. Ghent now is analyzing the technological possibilities.
Longer green light for cyclists means the delay for other road users will increase. “Challenge will be to find an acceptable balance”, explains Roel Vanderbeuren, spokesman for the alderman. “We have to make sure trams won’t have any delay at all.”
‘Nice political statement’
Watteeuw hopes to motivate more drivers to opt for the bike, even when it rains, by giving cyclists priority.
In Antwerp, Watteeuw’s colleague, Koen Kennis (N-VA), is not in favour of the idea and he doesn’t really believe in it either. He considers it “a nice political statement”. Besides, he says, “the number of rainy days in Flanders is not as bad as we often think.”
Still, the city is experimenting with similar projects by extending the green light to give older people more time to cross the road.