Priority from the right rule to remain in new Highway Code

The Transport Minister in Belgium’s caretaker federal government François Bellot (Francophone liberal has said that the rule giving priority to vehicles coming from the right will remain in the new Highway Code. However, regional and municipal authorities will be able to install give way signs and or road markings indicating that traffic coming from the right must give way if they feel that this is appropriate.

Mr Bellot was reacting to a call from the Flemish motoring associating VAB to get rid of priority from the right where ever possible.     

On Tuesday the Mayor of the Flemish Brabant municipality of Glabbeek, Peter Reekmans (local list) announced that since Glabbeek Council scrapped priority from the right on roads maintained by the municipality in 2017 there has been a remarkable fall in the accidents in Glabbeek. Other municipalities have already scrapped the rule at a number crossroads or have plans to do so.

Speaking in an interview with the dailies ‘De Standaard’ and ‘Het Nieuwsblad’ VAB’s Maarten Matienko calls for the rule to be scrapped at many crossroads as possible.

"It is a dated principle and it does more harm than good. The is certainly difficult to interpret for young people. It is difficult for those that have a momentary lapse due for example to their smartphone. Moreover, some municipalities use the rule as a way of reducing motorists’ speed”, Mr Matienko told the papers.  

However, Mr Matienko doesn’t object to the priority from the right remaining in force as a basic rule. "If for example a road sign has blown over or has been vandalised you need a basic rule to fall back on”.

The office of the Federal Transport Minister responds in a similar vein.  

"In the new Highway Code that has been set to the Council of State for scrutiny there is no abolition. The basic rule remains. However, it is up to those that manage the roads, be that the region or the municipality, to act where they feel that this is appropriate”.     

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