Cyclists do not interfere with wildlife
A wildlife overpass that came into service three years ago in the Veluwe nature reserve is an overwhelming success, according to Alterra scientists. Shared use of the overpass by cyclists does not appear to interfere with wildlife as yet.
The overpass came into service in 2006. An evaluation demonstrates many animal species, including rare species, regularly use the passage. Students and volunteers have recorded almost daily how many traces of which species could be discerned in specially constructed sandy lanes. Roe, fox and rabbit crossed several times a day, hares several times a week. Rare species discovered the wildlife bridge as well, for instance badgers and pine martens.
Humans, too, used the wildlife overpass. It is accessible for leisure traffic anyway, as a combined semi-paved bicycle/footpath and a bridle path have been constructed with a width of 2.7 metres, fenced off with wire mesh. Use was recorded by means of infrared counters - which do not distinguish between pedestrians and cyclists. Approximately 500 pedestrians/cyclists and 5 riders crossed the overpass a day, most of them on weekends and in the afternoon. But some commuters used the overpass as well.
At first sight wildlife and cyclists do not appear to get in each other’s way, but scientists are not yet ready to give a final verdict. A separate study will provide a definitive answer sometime in the future.