EU parliament temporary blockades endanger cyclists

©Barry Sandland/TIMB - Cyclists passes concrete barriers placed across the bicycle path at the European Parliament

©Barry Sandland/TIMB – Concrete barrier across a cycling path in aid of security for the visiting EU dignitaries – but not for the safety of cyclists.

Most Brussels cyclists have experienced the re-routing and delays that occur when the EU parliament has dignitaries visiting. We get shuffled through back streets and around buildings as police bar passage. But now the authorities are installing concrete blocks to bar cyclists temporarily – and then leaving the dangerous obstruction in place after the need passes. 

This concrete barrier was in place yesterday afternoon and was still there last night – just without any police officer to draw attention to, or have need for, it. I had spent enough time riding a large circle about to get to the other side. Eventually I could go through Schumann and got onto the bike path. And this lump of concrete was across the path, from the inside of the sidewalk all the way out to this sliver of remaining pathway.

Try this late at night with far less light, no reflectors on the concrete, and the concern is far greater. The concrete blends into the bland colour of the area and is simply dangerous.

And, as the concrete barrier runs the width of the sidewalk, pedestrians are obliged to use the small space for their passage, as well. Just far more dangerous.

Why the same limitation in passage could not have been achieved with a simple steel gate that could be put to one side immediately afterwards by just about anybody.

And, while I am moaning… On the far side of the road, the police set up barriers to cyclists once you have gone past the pedestrian crossing and climbed up the grade. You are then turned around and sent back down the road to cross over the street. A simple sign would make that idiocy unnecessary. .. Or maybe they could install a concrete barrier on the far side and double the threat posed by cyclists?

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