Stay Safe on the Roads: Walloon Road Safety Agency’s Warning on Time Change and Visibility

2023-10-31 07:25:01

The Walloon Road Safety Agency warns against the time change on Saturday. The risk of an accident increases for pedestrians if they do not wear suitable clothing. The work will be completely finished. – Photo News By Yannick Hallet Journalist in the General Editorial Staff Published on 10/26/2023 at 06:30 Modified on 10/26/2023 at 2:02 p.m.

After this weekend’s time change, it will be very dark during the morning and evening rush hours. Times when traffic is heavy and where autumnal weather conditions are occasionally added which do not help anything in terms of visibility.

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“Each year, between October and November, the number of pedestrian accidents occurring during rush hours increases by 21%, an increase which then continues in December (+8%). The evening rush hour is the riskiest, with twice as many accidents recorded there as during the morning rush hour,” explains Belinda Demattia, spokesperson for the Walloon Safety Agency. (AWSR).

Lack of visibility also has an impact on bicycle accidents. While the number of collisions and cyclist casualties decreases compared to the spring and summer months, the severity of accidents increases considerably. In fact, during peak hours in November, accidents involving cyclists are on average 47% more serious than those in October. This is explained by the shock linked in part to the difficulties in discerning these users in the dark, causing late braking and a high impact speed during collisions.

Vigilance on the roads is therefore essential for everyone, particularly after the autumn holidays, the first encounter with darkness during rush hour travel for many users. Pedestrians and cyclists should also be more visible in the dark. This doesn’t mean dressing like the ace of spades.

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“When it comes to reflective accessories, everyone thinks of Karl Lagersfeld’s yellow vest “It’s ugly, it doesn’t go with anything” as part of a road safety campaign. But today, you can find plenty of outfits and accessories that allow you to be visible, while remaining stylish,” says Belinda Demattia. Brands have specialized in this area with sports or city outfits. You can find a kind of jacket with buttons, a bag with a reflective shoulder strap or even a sleeveless vest. Children are not forgotten, especially with chasubles in nice colors and decorated with friendly monsters.

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The Walloon Agency is also launching a major awareness campaign on the importance of being seen; The television spot adopts an offbeat tone: a burly security guard, like you see in nightclubs, sorts out people who can go out or not. At the same time, accessories will be distributed this Thursday and Friday in front of several stations in Wallonia.

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“We are entering a period where bad weather and dark days have a negative impact on road safety. To reduce the number of road casualties, making yourself visible can make all the difference. It is therefore essential to facilitate the provision of accessories to improve their visibility”, indicates the Walloon Minister of Road Safety, Valérie De Bue: “It is with this in mind that I have released a specific budget, to enable the AWSR to set up this important awareness campaign, as well as a distribution of reflective armbands and auxiliary lamps near several stations in Wallonia. A competition is also organized with gift vouchers allowing you to equip yourself with accessories, clothing and bags, both trendy and reflective. Initiatives which will ultimately enable more than 12,000 users to be equipped, just before they travel in the dark.” These checks can be used in specialized online stores.

A retro-reflective accessory allows pedestrians and cyclists to be visible 150 m away by motorists, a distance seven times greater than with dark clothing.

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A recent AWSR survey reveals that many users do not equip themselves accordingly. On foot, one in five Walloons (22%) say they do not wear any accessories to be more visible when moving in low light. Among those who equip themselves, only 49% say they wear fluorescent or reflective clothing or items and 24% wear an extra lamp. Cyclists are more careful. Only 2% of them say they don’t wear anything in particular.

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