The surprising verdict handed down in October last year by a police court magistrate in a speeding case will not pose a danger to the newly introduced Zone 30 in the Brussels Region, according to mobility minister Elke Van den Brandt (Groen).
The speeding incident took place last year, in the commune of Schaerbeek, when a motorist was flashed doing 64 km/h in what was then already a Zone 30.
The man was obliged to attend court since his offence was more than twice the legal limit, and the magistrate found him not guilty.
“The municipality of Schaerbeek has decided to incorrectly apply a speed limit of 30 km/h to the majority of roads, without taking into account the specific situation of each traffic axis. Establishing a zone 30 is only possible if there is a concrete danger,” said police court magistrate Lionel Van Damme.
Van den Brandt declined to comment on the ruling, but her spokesperson commented, “The magistrate’s interpretation is striking, but the verdict does not pose a threat to general zone 30.” The minister meanwhile has gone ahead by applying a blanket limit of 30 km/h in virtually all of the roads of the Brussels region. Tomorrow she is due to give a press conference on the issue, accompanied by the Brussels prosecutor, who will explain the legal situation.
“Without saying so explicitly, the magistrate has argued that the general application of a zone 30 misses the goal of the ‘real’ zone 30, which offers protection in the vicinity of schools and densely populated neighbourhoods,” lawyer Olivier Emsix-Mestreit told Bruzz.
“The public will be able to follow this verdict of the police judge, and the prosecutor’s office seems also to follow the reasoning that the general zone 30 is counterproductive in terms of road safety, seeing as how they have not appealed against the judgment.”