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Atomium area residents fed up with weekly muscle car crowds

19:04 01/06/2021

Brussels police have long wrestled with street racing on the avenues surrounding the Atomium, but the situation has now turned into an out-of-control weekend party, according to neighbourhood residents. It’s gotten to the point, they say, that they are afraid to walk along the avenues themselves when the hot rod enthusiasts take over the streets.

Generally young men gather in the area to race or just show off their souped-up engines. The noise produced by cars with mufflers removed is deafening, say neighbours.

“We see everything,” said Jean, another resident of the neighbourhood. “Cars that are street racing. Modified exhaust pipes. We see kids playing here between the cars, mums with prams, electric scooters. It’s just a downright dangerous situation. And the noise nuisance lasts until two or three in the morning – every weekend.”

According to a resident named Marine, women who live in the area routinely avoid the avenues when the gatherings take place. “Evenings and nights, it’s just hell,” she told Bruzz. “Women are afraid to even be here because you are harassed, verbally abused. We cannot come here to relax in the evenings because women apparently don’t have that freedom.”

‘Motor terrorism’

While the problem has been around for years, residents say it’s gotten much worse over the last few months. Just last Saturday police arrived at the scene and confiscated three cars.

But that’s not enough to combat this “motor terrorism”, according to a resident named Stijn. “The impact of the noise, the feeling that you cannot come out into the street for fear of being run over – that has a major impact on the psyche of the residents.”

The situation “has simply become unbearable,” added neighbour Hakim. “I have kids, and I cannot let them go outside anymore alone. They get harassed, the people are verbally aggressive. But I’m also worried because of how fast the cars are driving.”

The police say they were present last weekend and will be present again this weekend. But the residents say this isn’t enough. They want a change to the traffic structure around the Atomium. “There is a lawlessness here, and it’s getting worse,” said Jean. The city simply doesn’t have this under control.”

Photo ©Getty Images


Written by Lisa Bradshaw


Frank Lee

"Look at my shiny object! It also makes a lot of noise!" said every person who had nothing else to offer.

Jun 1, 2021 19:18
Frank Lee

It's Ms Bradshaw's right to prefer American English to British English, if she so chooses.

Jun 5, 2021 14:16
Frank Lee

Although, she should then be consistent and write "neighborhood," not "neighbourhood." You should pick one and stick to it.

Jun 5, 2021 14:18