Potentially lethal madness

Not for the first time, somebody tried to kill me this evening. It was about eight-fifteen. I was on my bike in the rue Belliard and about to cross the road at the pedestrian crossing above the railway bridge. Faithful readers of this blog may remember that already in February 2009 we met with the then transport minister Pascal Smet to point out the dangers to pedestrians lurking in this road. To his credit, the lights at this particular pedestrian crossing were made automatic, rather than on request, but the way in which this light was synchronised has effectively created a new problem. Traffic turning out of the rue de Trèves has a few seconds before the bridge light turns red. The temptation for the first cars out is therefore to accelerate in a bid to beat the lights. For those less scrupulous, the lights can be ‘burnt’, with pedestrians (if there are any at such an hour) intimidated to stay on the pavement. Hence I found myself on the crossing, on my bike, with the little green man already beckoning me across. A taxi driver, late out of the rue de Trèves, had accelerated to beat the lights and failed. Clearly, my existence irritated him. So instead of braking he continued to accelerate and aimed his car at me. If I had not accelerated or if my chain had jumped the gears he would undoubtedly have murdered me. As it was, I reached the high kerb and turned my bike sideways on. As he passed, he shouted a curse out of the passenger window. He was going too fast (he disappeared into the Belliard tunnel) for me to read his number plate. I pedalled home in subdued mood.

1 Comment

  1. Jonathan

    Martin, I have read your blog for a couple of years now but never commented (as I nearly always agree with you 🙂 )

    However, on this post I felt I had to respond and agree with you (this time publically)! I go past the JDE everyday and this section of road is totally unsuitable and poorly designed for the safe movement of cyclists, pedestrians and drivers. Having the EESC building sit right on Belliard is less than ideal anyway, but the road design and traffic control system here exacerbate a bad situation.

    I hope you might raise the matter again with Brigitte Grouwels.

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