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Brussels cyclists say drivers intimidate, threaten them with impunity
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