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Deadliest weekend on Belgian roads in three years
Ten people lost their lives on Belgian roads last weekend. Remarkably, according to the Belgian Institute for Road Safety (IBSR/BIVV), the good weather may have played a role, drawing more pedestrians and cyclists out for a walk or a ride.
The last time there was such a high number of fatalities in one weekend occurred between August 13 and 14, 2011, when 13 people were killed. Rainy weather was then given the blame, however last weekend the sun was shining across Belgium. "That may also partially explain the high number," says Karin Genoe of IBSR/BIVV. "More people jump on their bikes or motorcycles when it’s nice out, resulting in more vulnerable users on the roads and a higher risk of accidents." Last weekend’s victims indeed included two cyclists and a motorcyclist.
It is still too early for IBSR/BIVV to draw any conclusions about road safety, but so far 2014 is not in line with the overall decrease in the number of road deaths in recent years, which last year reached a record low of 724 victims. "In the first quarter of this year, we observed an increase, with 141 deaths compared to 136 in the same period in 2013," says Genoe. "Soon, we will have exact figures from the second quarter as well, and only then will we see if additional measures are needed.”
According to the IBSR/BIVV, 42% of road fatalities in Belgium occur at the weekend, mainly connected to speeding, alcohol and fatigue.