Belgium

ETSC Reaction to the 2021 EU Road Safety Figures

ETSC Reaction to the 2021 EU Road Safety Figures

The European Commission has published figures for road deaths in the 27 EU Member States in 2021, showing that 19 800 people were killed in a road crash last year.  This represents an increase of 5% compared to 2020 – the year of Covid-19 lockdowns, and a 13% reduction  compared to 2019, the last year before the pandemic. Commenting on the new figures, Antonio Avenoso, Executive Director of the European Transport Safety Council (ETSC) said: “Covid-19 has changed some working practices for good, and […]

UK government advised to introduce mandatory helmets and a minimum age of 16 for e-scooters

UK government advised to introduce mandatory helmets and a minimum age of 16 for e-scooters

ETSC’s member PACTS has set out its recommendations for private e-scooter use in case of legalisation by the UK government, following a nine-month research project involving hospitals, police, NGOs and industry representatives. Rented e-scooters are currently legal in many UK cities, but private use is prohibited despite up to a million of the vehicles having been imported to the UK in recent years.  E-scooters are legal to buy – but their use is limited, in theory, to private land.  In practice most users are […]

Flanders recommends 30 km/h as default speed limit on residential roads

Flanders recommends 30 km/h as default speed limit on residential roads

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 […]

Belgium adopts Vision Zero federal road safety plan

Belgium adopts Vision Zero federal road safety plan

The Belgian government has announced a new federal road safety plan, which attempts to tackle several key issues including speeding and distracted driving. The Highway Code will be modified to give priority to walking, cycling and public transport above private vehicles. The government wants to tackle use of mobile phones while driving, with legal changes to allow for automated detection of phone use at the wheel. The negative effects of driving under the influence of prescribed drugs will also be tackled, with plans to […]

E-scooter speed and age requirements in focus

E-scooter speed and age requirements in focus

As the purchase and use of e-scooters continues to grow significantly across Europe, several governments are looking again at the rules governing their use. In Finland, in consultation with the government, rental scheme operators have agreed to limit e-scooter speeds to 20 km/h, and 15 km/h at night. There have been calls in Austria and Italy to limit the top speed of e-scooters at 20 km/h. In the city of Paris, certain central areas are now limiting the speed of rented e-scooters to 10 […]

Paris moves to 30 km/h across the city, as Brussels hails safety gains

Paris moves to 30 km/h across the city, as Brussels hails safety gains

The French capital has introduced Europe’s largest 30 km/h zone, covering the entire city for the first time with the exception of several main roads, such as the Champs Elysée and the main ring road. 30 km/h limits already covered two thirds of the city, but the zone has now been extended in a further bid to reduce collisions, noise and pollution.  The southern city of Montpellier also introduced a city-wide 30 km/h limit on 1 August. The changes in France came as officials […]

Streets for life: UN Road Safety Week to promote 30 km/h speed limits

Streets for life: UN Road Safety Week to promote 30 km/h speed limits

The benefits of 30 km/h urban speed limits are the theme of this year’s UN Road Safety Week which runs from 17 to 23 May. The campaign comes as the city of Paris has announced a plan to apply a city-wide default 30 km/h limit by early next year.  The Brussels region introduced a similar change in January, and nearby Leuven has announced it will do the same within months. The UN says low speed streets save lives and 30 km/h (20 mph) speed […]

Average speed down 9% in Brussels since launch of city-wide 30 km/h limit

Average speed down 9% in Brussels since launch of city-wide 30 km/h limit

The first data on speed and journey times since Brussels introduced its city-wide 30 km/h limit are promising. The city of Brussels introduced Europe’s largest 30 km/h zone on 1 January.  30 km/h became the default with a few exceptions on major roads that remain at 50 km/h. The city described the first results as “very promising” – though acknowledged that a longer period will be needed to assess the full results. Brussels Mobility compared speeds captured by LIDAR detectors at 12 locations during […]

Belgian-UK study: positive messages encourage safer driver behaviour more than fear tactics

Belgian-UK study: positive messages encourage safer driver behaviour more than fear tactics

A new study has shown that films demonstrating responsible behaviour could lead to young drivers taking fewer risks on the road than if they only saw videos aimed at provoking fear of accidents. Over one million people are killed in road accidents each year and drivers below the age of 25 account for nearly half of road deaths. Dr Yaniv Hanoch, Associate Professor of Risk Management at the University of Southampton, said: “Governments around the world have adopted a plethora of interventions aimed at […]

30km/h limits set to spread in 2021

30km/h limits set to spread in 2021

The city of Paris will extend 30 km/h limits to cover the entire city from 2021, and has launched a public consultation on the measure.  The move puts into effect an election promise of the mayor Anne Hidalgo.  Paris has had 30 km/h limits covering a wide area for several years, but it will now be the default speed everywhere except the ring road and pedestrianised areas.  Grenoble, Lille and Nantes have made similar moves to 30 km/h default limits in recent years. In […]

Consumer test of e-scooters leads to “get a bike” recommendation

Consumer test of e-scooters leads to “get a bike” recommendation

A consumer association’s test of the best-selling e-scooters in Belgium failed to lead to a recommended best buy, and instead the organisation suggested people buy bikes instead. The damning report by Test-Achats / Test Aankoop, based on specially designed laboratory tests as well as an on-road test route, found numerous problems with the devices.  One particular problem was battery failure or braking problems in wet conditions.  The organisation described the wet weather braking distances as “abominable”. A spokesman told Belgian media, “we advise against […]

Belgium to launch emergency corridor system from October

Belgium to launch emergency corridor system from October

Belgium will be the ninth EU country to implement the emergency corridor system to enable emergency response teams faster access to crash sites when a new requirement comes into force on 1 October.  The news was reported in July by Flemish news channel VRT.    The system, which has been shown to reduce response times by 4 minutes, and increase survival rates by 40%, is already used in Austria, the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Luxembourg, Poland, Slovenia and Switzerland. The system was a focus of […]

E-scooters: Calls in Germany for licenses, speed limits for new users and indicator lights

E-scooters: Calls in Germany for licenses, speed limits for new users and indicator lights

ETSC’s German member DVR – the German Road Safety Council, together with ETSC’s newest member DEKRA, specialists in vehicle inspection, have published 11 recommendations for improving e-scooter safety, one year after the vehicles were legalised in Germany.  The recommendations focus on the vehicles themselves, but also how they are used, particularly in the city e-scooter rental market.   The organisations are calling for e-scooter users to be required to pass an AM driving test, equivalent to the test required for mopeds and motor scooters.  The […]

Pontevedra, Spain, wins the first EU urban road safety award

Pontevedra, Spain, wins the first EU urban road safety award

The European Commission has announced the winners of four sustainable mobility awards including the first ever prize for urban road safety, awarded to Pontevedra in Spain. Pontevedra has reduced road deaths consistently since 1999, impressively achieving zero road deaths between 2011 and 2018. A host of measures ensure that safety and sustainability go hand-in-hand. The city used a clear and careful monitoring strategy to identify which policies are effective and which need to be updated, resulting in increased active mobility, such as walking and […]

COVID-19: Cities adapting road infrastructure and speed limits to enable safer cycling and walking

COVID-19: Cities adapting road infrastructure and speed limits to enable safer cycling and walking

Berlin, Brussels, Milan and Paris have all announced infrastructure changes to promote cycling and walking during the COVID-19 confinement period. Berlin has already temporarily widened cycle lanes to allow safe overtaking with social distancing limits in mind. Milan, meanwhile is closing 35km of streets to car traffic, introducing more 30 km/h limits and converting streets  to cycling and pedestrian-priority. In France, Paris and several other large cities have announced large rollouts of cycle lanes for during and after the lockdown. In the Belgian capital […]

COVID-19: Huge drop in traffic in Europe,  but impact on road deaths unclear

COVID-19: Huge drop in traffic in Europe, but impact on road deaths unclear

Unprecedented reductions in traffic volumes have been reported across Europe since confinement measures associated with the COVID-19 pandemic took effect.  Early reports based on limited data show that road deaths have not been reduced to the same degree, and, in some areas, have stayed the same or risen.  It is too early to draw firm conclusions. Data analysis by Tom Tom, of a number of major European cities has shown traffic volumes reduced by between 70 and 85% in countries where confinement measures are […]

Dutch study confirms effectiveness of alcohol interlock programmes

Dutch study confirms effectiveness of alcohol interlock programmes

The Dutch alcohol interlock programme was twice as effective as other sanctions at reducing recidivism, and the effects continued after participation in the scheme, according to new research by the Dutch Ministry of Justice research centre (WODC). According to the researchers, 4% of those who followed the programme were re-convicted of a drink-driving offence within two years, compared to 8% for a control group who faced other sanctions. An education programme for drink-driving offenders had a recidivism rate of 7%, compared to 9% for […]

Brussels-wide 30 km/h zone confirmed as Lille reaches 88% street coverage

Brussels-wide 30 km/h zone confirmed as Lille reaches 88% street coverage

Almost the whole of the Belgian capital will be covered by 30 km/h limits from January 2021 the city’s new minister of transport has confirmed. The announcement of the policy was accompanied by the news that automated speed enforcement capacity in the city will be increased and 30 high risk sites will be treated.  A publicity campaign encouraging drivers to respect the new limit ahead of its formal launch has also been running across the city since the announcement. Public pressure for road safety […]

Brussels to become a 30km/h city

Brussels to become a 30km/h city

The new governing coalition of the city of Brussels has agreed to implement a default 30 km/h speed limit across the city from January 2021. The measure, which will apply to all residential streets, but not to main roads such as the inner ring road tunnels, will be a significant extension.  Only around half of the city’s roads currently apply a 30 km/h limit. The main driver’s club, Touring, welcomed the move, saying it would provide “clarity” for drivers. A number of experts have […]

Belgium: call for zero tolerance for novice drivers caught drink-driving

Belgium: call for zero tolerance for novice drivers caught drink-driving

Vias Institute, one of ETSC’s Belgian members, has reiterated calls for a zero alcohol limit for novice drivers – as a survey showed most youngsters approved of such a move. Most EU Member States now have a lower Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) limit for novice drivers of 0.2 or below.  Belgium, along with Bulgaria, Denmark, Finland and Scotland have a limit of 0.5, the rest of the UK has a limit of 0.8. See ETSC’s latest list of BAC limits. According to an opinion […]

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