Road traffic rules in English

Index de l'article

The following rules apply in Belgium and may be different from those in force in other countries. Basic information (e.g. on speed, alcohol consumption, seat belt use, etc.) is available at https://ec.europa.eu/transport/road_safety/going_abroad/index_nl.htm


Electric scooters, etc.

Vehicles such as electric scooters, segways, monowheels, powered wheelchairs, etc. all fall into one category and must adhere to the same rules.

Where are they permitted?
Users of these vehicles are regarded either as pedestrians or cyclists, depending on the speed at which they travel. If their speed exceeds walking pace (± 5 km/h), they must follow the same rules as cyclists. In that case, they may, for example, use cycle lanes or restricted one-way streets. If they travel at walking pace, the rules applying to them are often the same as the rules applying to pedestrians.

Lights
At night, it is obligatory to have two lights: a red rear light and a white front light.

Helmet?
Wearing a helmet is not compulsory, but is strongly recommended.

Speed
The maximum speed limit for these vehicles is 25 km/h. The use of a vehicle capable of exceeding that limit is therefore prohibited.

Parking
It is prohibited to leave an electric scooter in an area where it is obstructing other road users, including pedestrians. If you are hiring a scooter, visit the website of the relevant town to check where you should leave the scooter at the end of the rental period. Parking is sometimes prohibited in certain neighbourhoods.


General rules for cyclists and motorcyclists

Cyclists and motorcyclists may not ride:

  • without holding the handlebars;
  • without their feet on the pedals;
  • while being towed;
  • with an animal on a leash.

They may ride two abreast, unless this prevents overtaking. Outside of urban areas, they must ride in single file when a vehicle approaches from behind.

Cycle lane users must not obstruct or endanger one another.

Where there is a cycle crossing, cyclists who are riding in the cycle lane must use it. They must do so with caution, and watch out for oncoming vehicles.


Motorists

Minimum age
The minimum driving age for most motor vehicles is 18. However,

  • mopeds (without a passenger) and speed-pedelecs (high-speed electric bikes) may be ridden from the age of 16;
  • category A motorcycles may be ridden from the age of 20, and
  • coach drivers and drivers of lorries weighing more than 7.5 tonnes must be at least 21 years old.

Distractions
As well as being forbidden from using a phone while driving (see the chapter ‘Phone use while driving’), motorists must remain in control of their vehicle at all times. They must also be in a fit state to drive. For example, it is prohibited to drive wearing inappropriate footwear or while under the influence of medication that affects the ability to drive.

Anti-theft devices
If your vehicle has an anti-theft device (alarm, door-locking system, etc.), it must be used.

Stationary vehicles
It is prohibited to leave the engine running while a vehicle is stationary. Running the engine to warm up the inside of the vehicle or use the air conditioning is prohibited. Motorists may not press the accelerator while the vehicle is in neutral.


The zip-merging system

In Belgium, the zip-merging system should be used when a lane closure results in very slow-moving traffic. What is it?

  • Drivers should use the available lanes until the point of closure. (Merging hundreds of metres before the lane closure serves no purpose).
  • The vehicles in each lane should travel at the same speed.
  • At the point of the closure, those in the lane that is remaining open must give way in turns to the vehicles merging in.

Used correctly, the zip-merging system makes roads safer and allows traffic to flow more smoothly.


Home zones / shared spaces

F12a

Traffic: pedestrian priority
The whole of the public road may be used by pedestrians, and games are also permitted.

Motorists may not endanger or obstruct pedestrians. They must stop if necessary.

Speed
The speed limit is 20 km/h.

Parking
Parking is prohibited except:

  • in spaces delineated by road markings or coloured parking bays marked with a letter ‘P’;
  • where a road sign indicates that parking is permitted.

Roads reserved for pedestrians, cyclists, horse riders and speed-pedelec riders" alt="Roads reserved for pedestrians, cyclists, horse riders and speed-pedelec riders

F99A

Access and use
Only the types of road users shown on the signs may use these roads. They must not endanger or obstruct one another, and must exercise extra caution around children.

Speed
The speed limit is 30 km/h.


Play streets

     C3
jeux

Access and use
The whole of the public road may be used for play. Only motorists who live in the street in question and cyclists may access that street.
Motorists must not exceed walking pace and must give way to pedestrians, stopping if necessary. Cyclists must dismount if necessary.


Roads reserved for agricultural vehicles, pedestrians, cyclists, horse riders and speed-pedelec riders

F99C

Access and use
Only the types of road users shown on the signs may use these roads. They may use the entire road, but must not endanger or obstruct one another. Drivers of agricultural vehicles must exercise extra caution around other road users.

Speed
The speed limit is 30 km/h.


Bicycle streets

F111

Access and use
Cyclists may use the whole road provided that there is still space to overtake. Access to bicycle boulevards (rue cyclable) is permitted to motor vehicles, but they must not overtake cyclists.

Speed
Speed must never exceed 30 km/h.


Peak-hour lanes

The use of peak-hour lanes is indicated by LED signs on gantries:

  • a red cross means that it is prohibited to use that lane;
  • a green arrow pointing downwards means that vehicles are permitted to usethat lane, and
  • an orange diagonal arrow pointing downwards means that it is prohibited to use that lane other than to exit.

If the LED signs are not on, vehicles are prohibited from using the peak-hour lane other than to enter or exit the motorway, or to change direction.


School streets

 C3
rue scolaire

A school street (rue scolaire) is a road outside a school which is temporarily closed to motorised traffic at school drop-off and pick-up times. Access to school streets is restricted to pedestrians and cyclists. It is, however, permitted to drive out of the street in a motor vehicle at a speed not exceeding walking pace, giving way to pedestrians and cyclists, and stopping if necessary.


Emergency lanes

The principle is to create a rescue lane to allow emergency vehicles to bypass traffic jams or very slow-moving traffic.

What this means in practice is that motorists must leave a space between the left lane and the middle lane: those in the left lane must stay as far to the left as possible, and those in the right lane must stay as far to the right as possible.


Lane splitting

Motorcyclists must ride between the two lanes furthest to the left. When riding between two rows of cars, motorcycles must not exceed 50 km/h, and the difference between their speed and that of the cars they are passing must not exceed 20 km/h.


Speed limits

This page gives an overview of the speed limits in Belgium. This overview is for informational purposes only and is not part of the legislation.

Within built-up areas

  • In the Brussels Capital Region from January 1, 2021: 30 km/h
  • In the Brussels Capital Region until and including December 31, 2020, in the Flemish Region and in the Walloon Region: 50 km/h

Outside built-up areas

  MAM ≤ 3,5t 3,5t < MAM ≤ 7,5t Buses and coaches MAM > 7,5t with the exception of buses and coaches
Motorways 120 90 90/100 90
On roads with at least 2 lanes per direction, directions physically separated 120 90 90 90
On roads with at least 2 lanes per direction, directions separated by road markings 90 90 90 90
On roads with at least 2 lanes per direction, directions separated by road markings, in the Flemish Region, from January 1, 2017 70 70 70 60
On roads with at least 2 lanes per direction, directions separated by road markings, in the Brussels Capital Region from January 1, 2021 70 70 70 70
Other roads 90 90 75 60
Other roads, in the Flemish Region, from January 1, 2017 70 70 70 60
Other roads, in the Brussels Capital Region from January 1, 2021 70 70 75 60
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