Municipalities will soon be allowed to install fixed speed cameras and average speed checks in bicycle streets. The Flemish government has decided this, reports the newspaper Het Nieuwsblad, among others.
It is already happening in some Flemish municipalities. In the Bodukap police zone in the Antwerp region, for example, 22-speed pedelec users were recently cautioned for speeding in a cycle zone or 30 zones.
A 30 km/hour speed limit applies in bicycle zones, and motor vehicles, including mopeds, cannot overtake cyclists. Speed pedelecs are allowed if the speed does not exceed 30 km/hour. But despite that, it appears that the speed limit often remains dead letter, as speeding within a cycle zone can only be determined by police officers on the spot.
It will, therefore, soon be possible to deploy unmanned speed cameras or section controls in cycling zones, which means that speeding mopeds or speed pedelecs – they go up to 45 km/hour and have a number plate – can also be fined.
Cyclists’ Union in favor
“With this adaptation to the regulations, we give municipalities and police zones more and better possibilities to enforce the speed limit in cycling zones efficiently,” says Flemish Mobility minister Lydia Peeters (Open Vld).
The Cyclists’ Union favors unmanned speed cameras and route controls. “We now often notice that there are few checks on that speed limit in cycling zones,” spokesperson Wies Callens told VRT NWS.
However, Callens does warn against seeing speed pedelecs as a problem. “A speed pedelec replaces a car in traffic, which solves the mobility problem.”
At the beginning of this year, 65 650 speed pedelecs were registered in Flanders. For the moment, the sales of second-hand speed pedelecs are on the rise. Nonetheless, this growth is accompanied by more accidents. According to provisional figures for 2022, 658 injury accidents involving speed pedelecs were registered in Flanders, more than double compared to 2021 (318).