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Residents to lobby for safety measures after pedestrian death in Koekelberg
A new neighbourhood organisation has been founded to work towards traffic safety in Koekelberg, following a traffic accident on Sunday morning that left a Romanian woman dead. The accident took place on Avenue de Jette, which residents say has long been a source of problems due to excessive speeds.
The 30-year-old woman was on a zebra crossing, and two cars stopped to let her pass. A third car, driven by 19-year-old Houssem-Eddine B, took to the bike lane to bypass the other cars and struck the women as she crossed over the bike lane to the curb.
The driver, in possession of a temporary license, was detained and then released pending an investigation. Residents told Bruzz that they had turned to the city council before asking that the intersection of de Jette and des Gloires Nationales be made safer but had never received a hearing.
Coincidentally, Brussels region had discussed the intersection just last week in connection with works to the Leopold II tunnel. It had already been decided to place poles to separate the bike lane from the rest of the street and to make the crossing shorter by increasing the size of the pavement. This work will now be carried out right away, according to a spokesperson for Brussels mobility minister Pascal Smet.
Area residents came together on Monday evening at the site of the accident in memory of the victim. They have also launched a neighbourhood committee specifically to lobby for better traffic safety measures to be taken in the municipality.
“We want to tackle the mobility problem here and talk about the unsafe situations we run up against daily,” said resident Jacques Van Neck. “Then we can develop proposals and solutions for the long-term.”
The driver of the car, meanwhile, spoke to La Capitale, saying that the car belonged to a friend of his, who was too drunk to drive, so he took over the wheel. “The car in front of me was pulling a trailer and had slowed way down,” Houssem-Eddine B told the paper. “I thought he was going to turn left, so I swerved right to pass him. Then I hit the woman. I was driving about 40 kilometres an hour.”
He went on to say that his friend had been driving the car much too fast and so he had insisted on driving himself. “Make no mistake, I’m lying awake thinking about this. But I also feel like a victim.”
Photo: The intersection at Avenues de Jette and des Gloires Nationales, where the accident happened on Sunday