Is it necessary to have a license to drive a bicycle in Belgium?
No. But this does not mean that cyclists do not have any obligations even if there is no specific "highway code". Road safety rules must be respected to guarantee their safety and that of others. In addition, the cyclist makes sure that his bike and equipment are always in order.
How can I make sure that my bike meets technical standards?
If you use public roads, to ensure your safety and that of others, you must ensure that your bike has :
- good front and rear brakes (on children's bikes, only one brake is needed)
- a bell to signal your presence
- a white or yellow light at the front and a red light at the back for better visibility
- one white reflector in front and one red reflector in the back
- reflectors on the pedals
- reflectors in the wheels or tires with reflective sidewalls
In addition, to ensure his or her safety, the cyclist must wear a self-reflective jacket.
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Is it mandatory to wear a helmet when riding a bicycle?
No. But even if wearing a helmet is not mandatory on a bike, it is strongly recommended. As a reminder, a helmet is the safest way to protect your head in case of a fall or collision.
- The helmet must be attached.
- The helmet must not obstruct your visibility.
- Make sure that the case does not slide backwards once attached.
Is the cyclist obliged to use the bicycle path?
The bike path is marked by a sign or by broken lines on the ground that form a corridor. When it is built, the cyclist is in principle obliged to use it. Ground markings such as bike logos or chevrons are not binding: they suggest the cyclist's position and remind motorized vehicles that they are not alone on the road.
Where to ride if there are no bike paths?
When there are no bike paths, the cyclist rides on the road. However, he or she can also ride on the parking areas and shoulders on the same level that are to his or her right. In this case :
- He or she must give way to other users who use them.
- He does not have priority when he re-enters the roadway (because he is performing a maneuver).
Outside the urban area, the cyclist can also ride on the sidewalks and raised shoulders to his right (with the same reservations).
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What are the particularities of the highway code concerning bicycles?
- Limited one-way traffic
Cyclists may ride in the wrong direction, but only if the appropriate sign allows them to do so. This way, he avoids the main roads, or making a detour or hills. This also represents advantages from a safety point of view. Neither direction has priority over the other: caution and courtesy are recommended, especially when the street is narrow.
- Cycling at the light
The cyclist may pass a red or amber light if the appropriate sign allows him/her to do so.
- Sign B22: to turn right.
- Sign B23: to go straight ahead.
The cyclist is also obliged to give way to other users.
- Dead ends
Placing "pedestrian" or "bicycle" pictograms on a "dead end" sign informs pedestrians or cyclists that the lane extends into a path or road they can use, unlike motorized vehicles.
- The bicycle street
The bicycle street is marked by a specific sign, sometimes accompanied by markings on the ground. On these streets, the cyclist can occupy the entire width of the roadway (or the traffic lane if it is a two-way street). The speed limit on these streets is 30 km/h and motor vehicles are not allowed to overtake cyclists.
- The crosswalk
Nothing in the code prohibits a cyclist from crossing a pedestrian crosswalk in the saddle. Beware, the cyclist then loses all priority over approaching cars (as well as over crossing pedestrians). If he pushes his bike, he is considered as a pedestrian and again has priority over cars.
When I ride my bike, do I have to overtake from the left or the right?
A distinction must be made depending on whether the vehicles to be overtaken are moving or not.
If the vehicles you want to overtake are moving, it is called overtaking. This must always be done from the left.
If a line of vehicles is stopped (at a red light for example), you can go up (with caution) this line from the right. You can do this as long as the vehicles are stationary. However, as soon as they start moving again, you must stop the right lane and get in between two moving vehicles or overtake from the left.
Beware, a cyclist passing another cyclist must take into account the traffic, especially users who may have already started to pass at that time. If the track is bi-directional, he or she must be careful not to hinder those coming in front of him or her.
Can a cyclist ride on the sidewalk?
A cyclist is allowed to ride on the sidewalk under certain conditions:
If there is no bicycle path.
If the bike path is not passable.
If the road is not located in a built-up area.
The cyclist must be on the right in relation to the direction of travel. Therefore, he must not use the left sidewalk.
The cyclist must yield the right of way to other users of the sidewalk.
As of May 31, 2019, children under 10 years of age can still ride on the sidewalk with a child's bike.
How do the priority rules apply?
For cyclists, the priority rules are the same as those indicated in the Highway Code. Right-of-way is the rule! Indeed, the cyclist must yield the right of way to the person coming from the right. He must also yield the right of way when he makes a maneuver (U-turn, change lanes of traffic ...).
Where can I park my bike ?
It is forbidden to park your bike on the roadway, including in parking zones, unless a road sign explicitly allows it. However, the cyclist may park on other parts of the roadway, such as the sidewalk or shoulder. A bicycle parked on the sidewalk or shoulder that pedestrians must use must not interfere with pedestrians in any way.