About a hundred parents and children lay down on Thursday morning for a few minutes on the asphalt at the corner of Waelhem Street and Helmet Road in Schaerbeek. Answering the call of the “1030/0” pro-pedestrian safety collective, they were protesting against the lack of road and pedestrian security in the commune, and demanding road safety improvements.
Last week at this crossroads a young girl was struck by a hit-and-run driver on her way to school. This accident was one of a series of accidents that have affected Schaerbeek over the past year. The area around the crossroads is classified as a 30 km/h zone, but, according to the demonstrators, the speed limit is only rarely enforced by authorities or adhered to by drivers.
“We’re tired of taking risks crossing the street in Schaerbeek. We are in an area where the speed is limited to 30 km/h but there are not enough ways of enforcing motorists to drive at this speed. This is the case both at this crossroad and elsewhere in Schaerbeek,” explained one of the 1030/0 collective’s coordinators, Benoît Gérard.
The 1030/0 collective is calling for road improvements that will be designed to give priority to road and pedestrian safety over other criteria such as traffic flow or driving comfort, and which will favour cyclists and pedestrians (especially the elderly and children) over drivers.
“It’s a matter of political will,” added Mr Gérard. “The money must be made available. We expect a strong response from the Region and Schaerbeek municipality. We have created a 30 km/h zone here, but we can see that we are not getting results. The series of accidents is a reminder that things are not proceeding fast enough,” Mr. Gérard pointed out.