Regional road bike-paths in ‘bicycle paradise’ Limburg worst of all
Limburg might be known as the ‘bicycle paradise’ of the country, but the bicycle paths along the regional roads are in deplorable condition. That is the conclusion of a study by the Agency for Roads and Traffic (Agentschap Wegen en Verkeer, AWV).
Every two years, the AWV publishes a report about the condition of the bike-ways along the Flemish regional roads.
The AWV, therefore, uses a tool to measure the profile of the path, and also a three-wheeler plus trailer equipped with a sensor to measure the unevenness of the path’s surface. The poorer the condition, the heavier the vibrations and the more uncomfortable the path.
This way, the AWV measured a total of 4 136 km of bike-ways in Flanders last year. The results showed that 56,3% of them were in excellent condition, while 43,7% were imperfect or simply bad.
When we take a closer look at the results, it is clear that there are significant regional differences. From the results of the 2019 report, we see that the province of Limburg is rock-bottom. Only 39% of all bike-ways in Limburg pass the test, the worst result of all provinces.
More and more asphalt
There’s no real explanation for these results. The AWV indicates that in 2019 only 532 km of bike-ways were measured in Limburg compared to more than 700 km in 2017 and 2015. So, maybe only the worst parts were measured.
Another way of reasoning might be that it has to do with the materials used. The last years, more and more asphalt is used because it is more comfortable than concrete or clinkers. The older the paths, the poorer the condition and comfort of the chosen materials.
The poor condition of the bicycle paths is not new either. Limburg might have the reputation to be a ‘bicycle paradise’, thanks to its recreational bicycle paths rather than to their functional connections. The latter, however, are far more important for the promotion of the bike for commuting, which is an issue for the Flemish government.
Minister of Mobility, Lydia Peeters (Open Vld), emphasizes that the Flemish government will reserve 75 million euros on top of the promised bicycle investments for the construction of additional bicycle paths. This should benefit the economy and mobility in post-corona times.
75 million euros
The budget will be divided into four categories: the AWV will get 55 million euros for bicycle projects, and €5 million is intended for the Flemish Waterway (for bicycle paths on towpaths or along the water).
The working company for the north-south connection in Limburg will receive 5 million euros as well, and the last €5 million will go to Lantis ( the former BAM), the executor of the Oosterweel connection.