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Brussels cyclists say drivers intimidate, threaten them with impunity

Brussels cyclists express anger in Facebook posts
12:24 05/08/2019

Many Brussels cyclists feel that local police don’t take their complaints of road rage by drivers as seriously as they should.

Malte Arhelger, one of the organisers of the Critical Mass guerrilla biking events in the capital, put the question to locals in a recent Facebook post. Do Brussels drivers who spit at, threaten or hurt cyclists get away with their behaviour with impunity?

The dozens of responses and testimonials that subsequently poured in overwhelmingly suggested that the answer to that question is: yes.

One woman, herself a police officer, reported having filed a complaint after a driver threatened physical violence while she drove to work in plain clothes. In her Facebook post, she said that she still hadn’t heard back from the prosecutor’s office.

Another Facebook user commented that police simply refused to take down her complaint after she was hit by a driver.

Arhelger himself has repeatedly been on the receiving end of road rage; he’s been hit, spit at and has had objects thrown at him, he told De Standaard. On three occasions he filed a complaint. The local prosecutor’s office decided not to prosecute two of the cases; the third one is still under consideration.

Photo: Belga/ Nils Quintelier

Written by Linda A. Thompson


I'm out on my bike every single day. I have never had any problems of any kind. Not one. Could part of the problem be the cyclist's attitude?

Aug 5, 2019 15:43

I wonder. I've cycle commuted a 24 km round trip every day for years and I've never been spat at, hit, or had things thrown at me (although I've had near miss accidents caused by stupidity and carelessness rather than road rage.

But Critical Mass are kind of confrontational, so maybe that leads to more of that kind of thing.

Aug 5, 2019 16:40
Frank Lee

Do you know what drivers sometimes do to other drivers?

Aug 7, 2019 18:04
Paul Flaherty

As a pedestrian I am frequently intimidated by cyclists who ride on the pavement and by those who appear to think they have priority on pedestrian crossings.

Aug 21, 2019 00:51