Schaarbeek residents concerned: "Speeding motorists terrorise whole neighbourhoods"

In Schaarbeek, local residents have staged a symbolic action to call for more road traffic safety. They laid down on the street on the same place where a girl was caught in a hit-and-run one week ago.

The Brussels municipality of Schaarbeek has been plagued by traffic accidents involving the most vulnerable players, i.e. pedestrians and cyclists. As a result, citizens started a platform called 1030/0, referring to the postal code and the zero tolerance for speeding they would like to see implemented. Some 50 protesters laid down on a busy crossroads with the permission of the police. 

Pieter Fannes of 1030/0 told the VRT that "local people are really emotionally involved. We see this in the street, but also on social media." The platform was set up 1.5 years ago, after Stephanie Verbraekel, a journalist working for De Standaard, was killed after being hit by a vehicle.

Since then, measures have been taken. A general speed limit of 30 km/h has been introduced, and police have doubled speed checks. "But it's not ambitious enough", says Fannes. "Not here, and not in Belgium. We should try to rethink our mobility policies in general. Why is road traffic safety a priority in Scandinavian countries and in the Netherlands, while it is at the bottom of the list here?"

Fannes hopes that the worst cases of speeding drivers can be addressed one and for all. "They can terrorise entire neighbourhoods with their behaviour. We should consider heavier penalties." 

Why is road traffic safety a priority in Scandinavian countries and in the Netherlands, while it is at the bottom of the list here?