Belgian town acts against "platoons" of "cycle terrorists"

Cyclists banned from riding in groups larger than 10

by Tony Farrelly   May 4, 2011  

Dendermonde map.png

They may love cycling in Belgium but even so the town of Dendermonde is to introduce fines and possible bike confiscations to try to curb, the rising numbers of what the mayor dubs "cycle terrorists" bringing two-wheeled terror to the local towpath – no, not hoodie wearing youths riding cheap MTBs on the pavement, but roadies out on training rides… this is Belgium after all.

Mayor Peter Buyse, told the Het Laatste Nieuws that the town was plagued with "large platoon of cyclists racing as if their lives depended on it… Not with three or ten men, but in groups of one hundred or more. Swarm after swarm passes there and that makes the residents really sick and tired." Folllowing on from reports of injuries to other cyclists and pedestrians and in response to a riding tide of complaints from residents the the town has acted. From now on cyclists in Dendermonde are not allowed to ride in groups any larger than 10 riders, and there must be a minimum of 1000m between any such groups. Anyone breaking the rules risks a police fine of €120 and persistent offenders can have their bikes confiscated – for 24hours, this is Belgium after all.

The problem in Dendermonde seems to stem from cyclists using the local cycle paths along the River Scheldt and nearby public roads as a training loop of which they do multiple circuits. Large numbers of cyclists of going one way down a cycle path at speed is inevitably going to lead to conflicts with pedestrians and other cyclists coming the other way. The Flemish Cycle Union has condemned the actions of the council in Dendermonde as an overreaction, but cycling groups in the Netherlands have in the past acknowledged such behaviour as a problem on some cycle paths - last month a 69 year old road cyclist traveling at speed on a path in Overveen was killed when he collided head-on with a group of German tourists traveling the other way.

In Dendermonde – the mayor was keen to explain to the local media that the new rules only apply to groups of cyclists doing circuits of the locality - not to groups of cyclists riding from point too point through Dendermonde or along the dyke, this is Belgium after all.

 

3 user comments

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Are they allowed to use roads there even if a cycle path is provided?

posted by Slow Factory [7 posts]
6th May 2011 - 20:05

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No, in Belgium you have to use the cycle paths if one is adjacent to the road. By 'cycle path' that can mean anything from gravel track, corrugated concrete with a couple of centimetres of 'expansion gap' between slabs or very occasionally, a nice smooth piece of tarmac.

Make mine an Italian with Campagnolo on the side

posted by monty dog [358 posts]
6th May 2011 - 21:10

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This is also a problem in Chester on the Greenway. People are using it as training route and taking advantage of the smooth surfaces and lack of motor traffic. Tempers have flaired and there has even been some fisty cuffs between cyclists and other users.

Why drive?

posted by ian the cycling eel [2 posts]
11th May 2011 - 12:34

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