More cyclists killed on Flemish roads

The number of cyclists killed on the roads in Flanders has risen considerably during the first nine months of this year. In the period between 1 January and 30 September 35 cyclists died on Flemish roads, up from 25 during the same period last year.   

Both the Flemish Transport Minister Ben Weyts (Flemish nationalist) and his counterpart in the Federal Government François Bellot (Francophone liberal) promise extra measures to improve road safety.

Cyclists and motorcyclists are well-represented on the list of those that lost their lives during the first nine months of 2018. Figures from the road safety institute VIAS show that 40 cyclists (up from 33 in the same period last year) and 57 motorcyclists (up from 51) died on Belgian roads during the first nine month of this year.   

While, all but 5 cycling fatalities were in Flanders, around 60% (32 out of 57) motorcycling fatalities were in Wallonia. What’s more the number of motorcycle fatalities in Wallonia almost doubled (from 18 to 32) compared with the same period last year.    

Stef Willems of VIAS told VRT News that the increase can be accounted for by the prolonged period of hot and dry weather during the summer. This encourage more people to cycle and motorcycle more often.

The Federal Transport Minister François Bellot points to measures that have been taken to improve road safety. “A first driver has already been sentenced to having an alcohol lock fitted to their vehicle and others will follow.   

Mr Bellot’s counterpart in the Flemish Government Ben Weyts says that extra measures to improve road safety are in the pipeline. 

General fall in road traffic deaths

The total number of road deaths in Belgium during the first 9 months of this year was down 5% compared with the same period last year. Between 1 January and 30 September 333 people died on Belgium’s roads, down from 349 during the same period last year.  

"Never before were there fewer road traffic deaths”, VIAS’ Stef Willems told VRT News. However, the number of road traffic accidents involving injury rose slight.