September 18, 2021

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Governor Cathy Birx's reaction to an accident in Lang Limstraat: "It is not normal for children to die from 'collateral damage' in traffic" |  Antwerp

Governor Cathy Birx’s reaction to an accident in Lang Limstraat: “It is not normal for children to die from ‘collateral damage’ in traffic” | Antwerp

AntwerpGovernor Cathy Birx was deeply affected by the tragic incident in Lang Limstraat, in which two young sisters lost their lives. She believes that, ideally, all intersections should be conflict-free, and also points to everyone’s responsibility to achieve a “paradigm shift”: “We must all work together to reduce traffic.”




On Tuesday, disaster struck at Lange Leemstraat. Two sisters, ages 1.5 and 9, hit a truck and died instantly. The intersection was made dispute-free in the spring, but the Antwerp City Council nevertheless decided to return to the old traffic light regulation. The reason for this was increased traffic on the street, according to local council member Quinn Keenes (N-VA).

side effects

Kathy Birx responds defeated on the news. “What happened is heartbreaking. I can’t imagine having your two children kidnapped in front of your eyes at the same time. I’ve been saying this since I was governor, but we need to eliminate fatalities or serious injuries in traffic. It is not normal for people to die as collateral damage.”

The governor is therefore requesting an investigation into why the intersection was not cleared of disputes. “The chance of an accident is always lower when there are no conflicts at the intersection,” she says. “In principle, intersections should always be conflict-free, unless there are very serious reasons for it and it is assumed that the risk of accidents can be reduced to almost zero. This was clearly not the case.”

absolute priority

“The intersection where the two young children lost their lives is also a very dangerous, complex and hard-to-read intersection due to tram tracks, many converging roads, crowds, … Road safety for vulnerable road users is an absolute priority, especially for such intersections.” The governor continues. “I live nearby and believe me, vigilant adults should also be careful. Incidentally, this absolute priority of vulnerable road users is also of paramount importance to drivers. After all, it must be almost unbearable for a driver to continue to realize that He killed two young children.”

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“I’d love to hear a synagogue alderman say that the intersection is back on the old traffic light regulation because there’s a lot of traffic, but we all have to make sure the traffic volume goes down. We file ourselves, the model shift is of paramount importance. And it would be better for traffic Intensive driving is minimal in the city at times when there are many active road users.”

The intersection where the girls died on Tuesday. © BELGA