30km/h across the Brussels region soon?

Brussels mobility minister Pascal Smet and traffic safety secretary Bianca Debaets have unveiled plans that will turn 30km/h into the norm across the entire Brussels Region after the idea was first launched last March by opposition green lawmaker Bruno De Lille.

Secretary of state Debaets says it's a symbolic gesture: "The idea is to beef up traffic safety, but it remains to be seen how this idea will be implemented by the Brussels regional government."

Exceptions are planned for the main traffic arteries into the city, the inner Brussels orbital ring road and some of the tunnels. Research is already underway to provide more clarity. Mobility minister Smet: "The 30km/h norm will be everywhere, while at the moment it's only here and there. We wish to bring clarity: 30km/h is the norm. Traffic will move more smoothly. It will be better for the environment and road safety. Drivers will have a clearer picture, while the police will be able to enforce it more readily.

The government ministers believe that the measure will increase the quality of life in Brussels. Dirk Lauwers of Ghent University points to foreign examples: "In the Netherlands and Germany there are countless Zone 30 areas. They were introduced on a massive scale in the 80's and 80's and had a great impact on traffic safety."

"The chance of having an accident is smaller. When you break at 30km/h you can bring your car to a standstill in 13 meters. At 50km/h the standstill only occurs after 27 metres when you have one second to react."

"The impact when you crash into a pedestrian or cyclist is much smaller at 30km/h than at 50km/h and chances of survival are far greater too."

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