Last Friday, from 9:30a.m to 10:00a.m., on Boulevard Pachéco, in Brussels, the Gracq, Fietsersbond and EUCG cycling associations and the Parents of Child Road Victims Association raised awareness of the dangers of excessive speed for vulnerable road users. They demand more checks in areas with a 30km/hr speed limit.
Car speed is checked using a speed gun. According to results, drivers are shown either a green smiley, with a happy face, or a red smiley, with an angry one. Also, there are a few racing cyclists who ride in bike lanes next to motorists. And a person dressed up as a road sign showing a 30km/hr speed limit and holding up a sign saying “respect” is stationed at the end of streets.
Bernard Dehaye, president of Gracq, notes that “most motorists do not abide by speed limits. They often drive at 40-50 km/hr. We should remember that pedestrians and cyclists have no body work to protect them. The 50km/h speed limit gives motorists the impression they are not driving fast on a wide boulevard, but stopping distances are longer than at 30km/hr.”
Cyclists’ associations emphasize that the risk of death for a pedestrian is 2% for an impact at 30km/hr and 8% for 50km/hr, and 50% to 75km/hr. They want to enjoy better safety by limiting speed to 30km/hr in the historical centre and residential areas. The associations argue that it is in urban areas, where pedestrians and cyclists are in high numbers that the sense of danger related to speed can be most felt.