The number of accidents at level crossings in Belgium fell in 2022 to 32, down from 46 in 2021. However, the death toll from such accidents rose from nine to 11, in the same period, according to Infrabel.
Providing these and other figures at a press conference on Monday, the Belgian railway infrastructure manager urged road users to respect the highway code near level crossings.
Seven of the 11 people who died in accidents at level crossings were pedestrians. This was the highest figure since 2018.
Motorists, young people and local residents are the ones most involved in accidents, according to Infrabel, which said 24 of the 32 accidents involved a road vehicle and resulted in four deaths, while 80% involved local residents “who pay less attention as they use this route very frequently.”
Most of the accidents at level crossings occur in Flanders
In 2022, 349 accidents and incidents caused an average delay of 1 hour 47 minutes per day on the Belgian rail network, compared to 311 incidents in 2021, which caused an average of 1 hour 18 minutes of daily delays.
In 2022, 22 of the accidents at level crossings occurred in Flanders (5 deaths and one serious injury), 9 in Wallonia (5 deaths and one serious injury), and there was one fatal accident in Brussels.
Non-compliance with the highway code remains the main cause of accidents (50%), followed by reckless driving (35%) and weather conditions (15%): rain, fog and sunshine.
Infrabel took advantage of the release of these figures to re-emphasise the need for caution around level crossings and for compliance with the highway code.
Since 2015, 442 level crossings have been removed or replaced
“In the event of a dangerous situation, leave the vehicle immediately and call 112 directly in order to stop train traffic,” Infrabel spokesperson Jessica Nibelle recalled.
For more safety, Infrabel is banking on prevention campaigns, including in collaboration with the police.
Since 2015, 442 level crossings have been removed and/or replaced by alternatives such as bridges, tunnels, parallel roads or cycle paths.
In the capital, there are still two level crossings: the first is on Rue Vanderveken in Ganshoren and the second on Rue Nestor Martin in Sint-Agatha-Berchem. These “should disappear in the long term,” Infrabel stressed.