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Brussels 'Zone 30' leads to sharp decline in accidents and injuries
Brussels' region-wide 30km/h speed limit has led to a sharp drop in road accidents and injuries, and no noticeable increase in journey times, according to an initial assessment by the Brussels government.
Since 1 January, the reduced speed limit has applied to the vast majority of the region's streets. A few major arteries remain at 50km/h. Brussels mobility minister Elke Van Den Brandt said the 30km/h rule had led to a drop in the number of serious accidents.
In the first quarter of 2021, Brussels recorded 635 road accidents. This compares with 814 in the same period last year. Thirty people were seriously injured in traffic accidents in the first quarter - two of whom died from their injuries. The quarterly average over the past five years has been 44 serious injuries.
Some of the decline might be explained by changing lifestyles, with fewer people commuting to work since the coronavirus crisis began. But the number of accidents is still in decline when compared to a relatively similar period - the last quarter of 2020 - when there were 708 accidents recorded.
"It is still too early for definitive conclusions," said Van Den Brandt. "We know from the experience of the foreign cities that preceded us that the evolution will continue over time. But this already shows that the 30km/h zone is an important step towards a safer and more friendly city, with fewer deaths and injuries on the road."
Stretches of road that are equipped with average speed cameras recorded declines of between 7% and 19% in the average speed of vehicles. "This reduction in average speed has no impact on journey times," Van Den Brandt added. "Brussels Mobility has observed that journey times that are identical, or even slightly lower."