Fast-moving bicycles and scooters replace cars as the main danger in pedestrian zones

With the advent of the pedestrian zone, cars have disappeared for some time on the central streets of Brussels. Nevertheless, police are afraid that cyclists will take over the dominant role on the street, Bruzz reports. Hundreds of fines have been imposed on scooter riders and cyclists traveling at high speeds in the pedestrian zone this week.

In the pedestrian zone, according to the highway code, the driver (for example, someone in the delivery van) can only move at a walking pace. According to police, cyclists and scooter riders are also considered “drivers” and often drive too fast.

Since last Wednesday, the bicycle brigade in the Brussels capital Ixelles police zone has fined 250 for scooter riders and cyclists who drove too fast in the pedestrian zone. This is even more important when comparing these numbers to the entire 2021 with 1,003 similar fines.

So why are there more criminals? “We’ve stepped up our checks as cyclists and scooter riders overspeeding in the pedestrian zone were becoming the main complaints,” explains David Stevens, a bicycle police officer in the Brussels capital Ixelles Zone. The complaint reached the police via the city council or social media.

“I check it almost every day now. Of course, the number of fines is also related to the weather, so it’s a big difference from the beginning of the year, for example,” says Stevens.

However, good weather and increased frequency of checks are not the only reasons why high-speed cyclists and scooter riders in the pedestrian zone are fined.

“In the pedestrian zone, pedestrians are the king. Scooter riders and cyclists are welcome, but they need to adapt,” says Stevens. It doesn’t always happen, and according to Stevens, it has psychological reasons. Now that the dominant car has disappeared from the photo, the next fastest road user will take on that role, he says.

Law of the Jungle: Fastest Space Request

This idea is also supported by traffic psychologist Gerard Tertoolen. “Traffic is a bit jungle and the strongest law is important. In traffic, it’s the fastest law. The cruelest and fastest-moving person needs space.”

According to Tertoolen, traffic can be even more dangerous if the car is removed from the equation, as it happened in the pedestrian zone. “On normal roads, of course, cars dominate and everyone stays there. When you take a car away, everyone demands all the space and isn’t paying attention. For example, it’s less secure. It may be, but it is safer. “

The Flanders Cyclist Union also acknowledges this issue. “From the moment the space is redistributed and the car is removed, we know that cyclists think they can do more, but that’s not our position,” said a Fieter’s Bond spokesman. Take pedestrians into account and don’t think you’re the king of the road. “

Therefore, police believe that the current level of checking is needed. “We want to avoid situations where pedestrians always have to look back and see if they are in danger of falling,” Stevens said. You need to take another route. “

Fietsersbond advises cyclists who want to drive fast in the center of Brussels to choose another route, such as between Ported’Anvers and Ported’ Anderlecht, where a new bike street has been introduced. There is a lot of car traffic. The Pentagon circulation and redevelopment plans in the city center should also bring improvements.

Despite awareness campaigns that warn cyclists and others to slow down with banners and road signs on the road, traffic is unlikely to slow down. “This is something we always have to repeat, but we want to reach as many people as possible,” says Stevens, who wants to focus more on raising awareness. Fast-moving bicycles and scooters replace cars as the main danger in pedestrian zones

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