The Belgian region of Flanders has published new guidelines to local authorities which recommend 30 km/h as the default limit for residential areas. But the final decision on which limits to apply will rest with local authorities and will not be required by the Flemish government.
In Spain, 30 km/h became the national default limit on single lane roads in urban areas in May and there has been pressure in Belgium for a similar policy since the signing of the Stockholm declaration on road safety which says 30 km/h limits should be mandated in areas where vulnerable road users mix with motorised traffic.
The Flemish guidelines say predominantly residential streets should have a 30 km/h limit, while roads where traffic flow is more important should have a 50 km/h limit as long as there is safe infrastructure for pedestrians and cyclists. The guidelines also say that, if there is no physical separation between ‘active’ road users and motorised traffic, a 30 km/h limit remains the best option.
A number of cities and towns in Flanders have already introduced a 30 km/h speed limit on the majority of their road network. However, only a small proportion of regionally-managed 50 km/h roads in urban areas currently have separated cycling lanes. As the new guidelines are non-binding it is not clear what the effect will be.
The number of vulnerable road users killed in Flanders in 2020 increased compared to the previous year.