Reckless citizens brought ‘anarchy’ to the streets on car-free Sunday, says Brussels police chief
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Reckless citizens brought ‘anarchy’ to the streets on car-free Sunday, says Brussels police chief

Car-free Sunday in the Marolles neighbourhood. Credit: The Brussels Times

Too many “undisciplined” people committed road violations and brought “anarchy” to the streets of Brussels on car-free Sunday, a police zone chief said.

The acting chief of the Molenbeek police zone, one of the largest in Brussels, said that while the idea of organising a day without cars was “excellent,” road incivilities turned the event into a risky outing rather than a pleasant one.

“The idea is excellent and it is a pleasure to be able to ride a bike in relative safety,” police chief Jacques Gorteman told Le Soir.

“But it is pitiful to watch the initiative swerve into anarchy because of the incivilities of too many citizens — not even citizens, individuals!” he added.

Gorteman’s comments come after people throughout Brussels and Belgium took part in car-free Sunday, a yearly event in which most vehicles are banned from roads throughout most of the day.

Walking through Brussels on Sunday, Gorteman said he witnessed strings of instances of “undisciplined” behaviour and of “total disregard of road regulations.”

“I noticed the same thing almost everywhere: children playing on the street, pedestrians on the road instead of on the sidewalk, non-compliance with traffic lights, bikes or two-wheeled vehicles going against traffic, children under 5 riding tricycles everywhere…” Gorteman said.

“The police repeatedly commented on this total disregard of road regulations,” he added.

The police chief, who is set to quit his position at the head of the police zone competent for the municipalities of Molenbeek, Berchem-Sainte-Agathe, Ganshoren, Koekelberg and Jette, also said that too many laissez-passers were granted to certain vehicles on that day.

Gabriela Galindo
The Brussels Times