OstendToday, on Friday 3 June, which is also World Bicycle Day, the new cycling zones in the center of Ostend were opened. The entire old center of the city will become a bicycle zone from today. A second and third bicycle zone will also be introduced in the vicinity of the Leopold Park and in the vicinity of the City Hall – Conservatory.
The city of Ostend has the ambition to become the cycling city of Flanders. In order to realize this ambition and to encourage safe cycling behaviour, the redesign of the public space is recommended. First alderman Björn Anseeuw (N-VA), responsible for Mobility, explains: “Many cities and municipalities, just like Ostend, are faced with the challenge of giving everyone sufficient, safe and healthy space to fully enjoy the public domain. A bicycle zone partly solves this problem because cyclists can share the street with motor vehicles in a much safer way. At the same time, we also provide more space for comfortable footpaths. With the cycling zones we literally create more breathing space for everyone. This is therefore a major and crucial step towards turning our Queen of Seaside Resorts into the most walking and cycling-friendly coastal city.”
A bicycle zone is a series of streets where the legislation on bicycle streets applies. The rules that now apply in a bicycle street, therefore also apply in a bicycle zone. Cyclists are allowed to use the entire width of the carriageway on one-way streets. In two-way streets, cyclists use the entire right half of the carriageway. Cars and motor vehicles have access to bicycle streets and zones, but are not allowed to overtake cyclists. The cycling zones are clearly indicated everywhere with signage and road markings.
These new cycling zones have many advantages. One of them is bicycle safety. The cyclist is now much more visible there. At the same time, the cyclist is no longer pushed aside by cars that want to overtake. In this way a lot of traffic unsafe situations are avoided. “Traffic safety is a priority for a tourist center city like Ostend,” says Mayor Bart Tommelein. “With the introduction of three cycling zones, we are increasing safety for cyclists.”
The continuity of a bicycle route is also assured in a place where there is no existing bicycle path. “With the bicycle zones, we reconcile road safety with accessibility. From now on, traffic will follow the cyclist’s rhythm. And even though that takes some getting used to for motorists, at the same time we also ensure that everything remains accessible, also for motorists,” says Anseeuw.
world cycling day
The new cycling zones were festively cycled in by the Bicycle Fanfare today on World Bicycle Day. Mayor Bart Tommelein (Open Vld) and first alderman Björn Anseeuw also cycled along. There are a total of three cycling zones. They can be found in the Old Center, in the vicinity of the Leopold Park and in the vicinity of the City Hall – Conservatory. More information about the cycling zones and a map can be found at Oostende.be/fietszone.
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