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Driving habits survey finds bad parking on the rise in Belgium
More drivers in Belgium are parking badly, particularly on cycle paths, according to the country’s traffic safety institute Vias.
One Belgian driver in four admits to occasionally parking in a cycle lane, making Belgium the worst performer in Europe in this respect.
The data comes from a European survey conducted by the Vinci Autoroutes Foundation, which reports that Belgium is experiencing an increase in all types of "uncivil behaviour" relating to parking.
On average, 18% of European drivers claim to have stopped or parked on a cycle lane, compared to 24% of Belgians, an increase of three percentage points compared to the previous edition.
Vias pointed out that parking on a cycling lane is considered a second-degree offence, punishable by a fine of €116.
Another the number of Belgians who admitted to occasionally parking in a space reserved for the disabled rose to 13%, Vias said, adding that occupying these spaces can put disabled people at risk by forcing them to park in a regular space. This is also considered a second-degree offence.
Other notable findings from the report include that 26% of Belgians admit to double-parking (compared with 22% in 2022) and that half of Belgians walk on a daily basis, which is the lowest percentage of any European country and well below the European average of 66%.
The study also found that the diversity of modes of transport (cars, electric scooters, bicycles, walking) and the evolution of their respective shares in a constrained public space make cohabitation between the different users complex and often difficult.
A very large majority (93%) of users report a particularly anxious climate on the road, which the study said may be linked to risky behaviour on the part of other road users.
Pedestrians in particular were very affected by risk-taking by other road users, with 89% of pedestrians saying they’re afraid that a motorist will not stop to let them pass when they are on a pedestrian crossing.
“The lack of space, traffic density or simply the desire for greater safety are all reasons why cyclists encroach on spaces reserved for other road users, at the cost of endangering themselves,” the study said.
Findings showed that 72% of European cyclists say they regularly use the pavement, which is reserved for pedestrians.
The study involved 12,400 Europeans aged 16 and over, including more than 1,000 Belgians.