Road deaths fall to record low but cyclist fatalities in Flanders reach 20-year high

There were 7 per cent fewer road deaths in Belgium last year than in 2022, according to the latest road safety barometer published by traffic institute Vias. With 483 deaths recorded last year, the number fell by 37 from 520 in 2022. With the exception of the pandemic years, this is the lowest number ever recorded, says Vias.

Thirty-five per cent of road deaths in 2023 were pedestrians or cyclists. In Flanders, the number of cyclists killed rose from 73 to 84, the highest in the last 20 years.

The number of injury accidents fell slightly by 2 per cent. The same applies to the number of people injured, which is also down by 2 per cent, meaning all indicators show a positive trend across the country, Vias says. However, an average of nine people still die every week on Belgian roads.

Speed checks

The institute says that although it is difficult to explain the trends with certainty, the increased number of average speed checks and the abolition of tolerance margins at certain speed checks are having an impact on driver behaviour. The new rules for electric scooters also play a role.

In Wallonia, the number of road deaths fell by 5 per cent from 228 to 217 and in Flanders by 4 per cent from 271 to 261. The biggest decrease was in Brussels, where the number of fatalities fell from 21 to five in one year.

"As long as the counter does not reach zero, you will never hear me say that road safety is good in Flanders"

However, there was an increase in the number of deaths among cyclists (from 95 to 96 deaths) and people involved in van accidents (from 50 to 58 deaths). The latter can be explained by the increase of vans on the road due to the rise in e-commerce. The number of deaths among motorcyclists fell from 65 to an all-time low of 49.

Flemish Mobility minister Lydia Peeters said the decrease "is positive and shows that we have made progress, but there is still a long way to go. As long as the counter does not reach zero, you will never hear me say that road safety is good in Flanders".

Federal Mobility minister Georges Gilkinet welcomed the results of the road safety barometer, saying that "the measures taken since the beginning of the legislative period are beginning to bear fruit" and "are saving lives".



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