The accident happened at 2.30 pm at the intersection between Antwerpsesteenweg and Drieselstraat, close to the entrances and exits of the R4 between Oostakker and Lochristi, in front of the well-known store Sleeplife.
Traffic has to cross a cycle path to get onto the R4. A 62-year-old lady rode her bicycle on the cycle path and wanted to drive straight towards Lochristi, from where it was not yet clear on Friday. But as she was crossing the ramp onto the R4, she was hit by a truck.
The driver of the truck wanted to turn right, towards R4, but probably had not seen the cyclist. According to the first findings of a traffic expert, appointed by the East Flemish public prosecutor, it was a blind spot accident.
The driver was able to stop a few meters further, but the woman didn’t stand a chance and died on the spot. The 49-year-old driver of the truck was in shock and subsequently took a negative breath and saliva test, the prosecutor’s office confirms.
The N70 was closed by the emergency services for a while, but traffic was able to pass again around 5 p.m. (read more below the photos)
The accident confirms the bad reputation of the Antwerpsesteenweg-N70. Not least because it happened just 300 meters from the black intersection where 16-year-old Nikita Everaert died on a bicycle in 2018. It also involved a collision with a truck.
The Gentse Fietsersbond reacted immediately on Friday “wordless, sad, and angry.” “When will that life-saving traffic light policy be back?” Work is underway to make both intersections on Antwerpsesteenweg safer, but they are still in the first phases.
The intersection where the 62-year-old lady died on Friday is not planned until spring. There will be separate bicycle paths of 1.75 meters wide. Today there is only a narrow cycle path. All traffic is now also given the green light at the same time, which may have contributed to the accident.
The intersection where Nikita died already has ‘conflict-free’ traffic lights: that means cyclists and pedestrians can cross in all directions without coming into conflict with traffic turning left or right. The next intersection is where the accident happened on Friday.
This is the second fatal bicycle accident in Ghent this year. In August, 44-year-old teacher Nathalie Lacave died at Dok-Noord, also due to an accident with a truck. In that case it was an epileptic attack, it sounded afterwards.