Doctors plead: don't treat lockdown like car-free Sunday

Doctors plead: don't treat lockdown like car-free Sunday
Car-Free Sunday in Brussels in 2012. Credit: European Cyclists' Federation/ Flickr.

Several doctors have voiced concerns over a significant number of amateur cyclists and other weak users taking advantage of the limited number of cars on the road to venture out without regard for the traffic regulations.

"Confinement is not a Sunday without a car," these doctors warned, Belga News Agency reports.

For one Sunday a year, during Mobility Week in September, some large cities ban car traffic on their territory. The roads are then invaded by cyclists, scooter riders, roller skates, etc, causing a significant change to the city and the flow of traffic.

After authorities strongly advised against non-essential travel, one measure among many to stem the spread of the new coronavirus (Covid-19), the number of cars on the road has significantly dropped.

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Due to the continued nice weather, doctors fear that the behaviour of weak road users will become widespread in the city, leading to a high risk of accidents.

Not only do they not respect traffic regulations, but they may also cause injuries requiring a trip to the emergency room, something which healthcare professionals are desperately trying to avoid.

"Today, it's not a good day to walk into an emergency room, so let's avoid breaking our backs on a scooter, for example," said Thomas Orban, president of the Collège de la médecine générale francophone.

Another doctor based in the Brussels Region also called for caution. "Minimizing our individual risk of road accidents, broken legs, sprained ankles and the like, is actively helping to let doctors focus on the pandemic."

As of the official count on Monday, the total number of cases in Belgium, since the beginning of the pandemic, is 3,743. This number will be updated in an official press conference around 11:00 AM

Jules Johnston

The Brussels Times

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