During the COVID-19 pandemic there are less people on the roads across Europe. With less cars and traffic, drivers tend to drive more recklessly. There has been an increase in accidents on the continent. In response to this, cities around Europe are taking steps to improve safety when the roads are emptier and people are driving faster. While each city has their own problem with road safety, all of them are creating their own solutions. A universal issue that is contributing to accidents and making more dangerous roads is speeding. Below are some of the stats about speeding and how various European cities are dealing with it.
Empty Roads & Speeding
Whenever roads empty, the speeding increases for those still driving. Furthermore, according to the personal injury claims law firm McGinley Solicitors, speeds have gone up during the COVID-19 pandemic. While speeds have increased, the number of accidents have gone up. This goes for accidents with cars, pedestrians, cyclists, and more. Speeding isn’t the only problem, people are also drinking and driving and getting on the roads during inclement weather. Driving under the influence also increases the speed of drivers and the likelihood that an accident will occur. The problems are multi-faceted, but so are the solutions. Each country and city has their own way of dealing with speeding, driving under the influence, accidents, and deaths in their own way.
Berlin is already known for being a forward-thinking and progressive city. It is a city of constant change and flux. It has been destroyed and rebuilt, evolving into a modern and accessible place to live. The city has responded to the increase in speed and accidents by temporarily widening the cycle lanes, allowing wider distance for cars and social distancing. The response is to create new space for pedestrians and bicyclists, but with so many vehicles in Germany some are not happy about the new roads.
40 percent less people are on the roads. The extra space and less traffic has provided safer situations for people who want to walk and cycle, but cars are also now having to avoid more pedestrians. Currently there aren’t really reliable numbers on how this will effect accidents between cars and pedestrians, but it seems clear cars are having to be more careful when they are driving these widened roads. It is a significant change, and not everyone likes change, but they are necessary in this ever-evolving pandemic.
Brussels is another progressive city that has responded quickly to the changing roads during the COVID-19 pandemic. The city has decided to lower the speed limit inside their main drag, the inner ring road. The speed limit will be lowered to 20 kmh. Brussel’s center is shaped like a pentagon, which makes it ideal for pedestrians. This means that pedestrians have space to move around, and bicycles can more easily maneuver. Again this creates more foot-traffic for drivers to navigate, but with so few cars on the road it makes for a socially distanced and traversable intersection. There are also concerns about the center becoming a meeting place. With social distancing, Brussels is learning how best to use their city.
Milan is also taking measures to open up traffic to pedestrians while making the roads safer for drivers. They are doing their best to open up the center for walking, closing 35km streets to cars. Like other Italian cities, Milan is changing its environmental regulations to make cities livable and social-distanced. While many city centers like Milan are closing to car traffic and opening up for pedestrians, there are still less cars on the highways and people are speeding, causing an increase in accidents.
Many large cities around Europe have begun rolling out cycling lanes that give cars and pedestrians more room. The city aims to create 650 kilometers of lockdown cycle lanes. This will not only provide space for social distancing, it will help commuters and others who are taking a ride for exercise. With fewer cars on the streets of the French capital, it provides a more regulated system of streets where drivers have to be careful with pedestrians around. This system, while it is becoming common, is especially suited to French society.
European cities around the continent are adapting to the new streets that have less cars and more pedestrians on them. Everyone is adapting to social distancing with less people on the roads and more people trying to get out of the house and other closed spaces. We all can learn how to adapt our cities like the ones above.
Anis Amri, the main suspect in Berlin Christmas market attack, has been shot dead by police in Milan, Italy’s interior minister says.
The Tunisian opened fire on police who asked him for ID during a routine patrol in the Sesto San Giovanni area on December 23.
According to German authorities, fingerprints they provided have confirmed the dead man is Anis Amri. They are trying to find out if he had accomplices.
The December 19 attack at Berlin’s Breoscheidplatz Christmas market left 12 dead and 49 injured.
When Italian police stopped the suspect, who was on foot, at 03:00AM local time, he “immediately drew out a gun” and shot at the two policemen, Italian Interior Minister Marco Minniti said.
Officer Cristian Movio was injured in the shoulder but his injuries are not life-threatening.
His junior colleague, Luca Scata, who had been in the police for just nine months, was the one who fired the shot which killed Anis Amri.
German officials found Anis Amri’s fingerprints inside the truck that was used in December 19 attack.
Federal prosecutor Peter Frank said the focus of the criminal investigation into the killings now was to establish whether Anis Amri had had a network of supporters who helped him to plan and carry out the attack or to flee.
Investigators are also trying to establish whether the gun used in the shooting in Milan is the same weapon used to kill the Polish driver of the truck, who was found dead with stab and gun wounds in the cab.
The attack took place at the Breitscheidplatz Christmas market near the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church in the west of the German capital, Berlin.
According to the Italian news agency Ansa, Anis Amri had traveled by train from France to Turin, and then taken another train to Milan.
From the central station Anis Amri traveled on to Sesto San Giovanni, a working-class area.
Anis Amri, 24, had served a prison sentence in Italy after being convicted of vandalism, threats and theft in 2011.
The Tunisian was known to Italian authorities for his violent behavior while imprisoned.
After his release Anis Amri was asked to leave the country. He later arrived in Germany where he applied for asylum in April 2016.
His application was rejected by the German authorities but they were unable to deport him to Tunisia because he had no valid identification papers.
Anis Amri was named as a suspect in the Berlin attack by German federal prosecutors, and a reward of up to €100,000 ($104,000) was offered for information leading to his arrest.
The German authorities issued an alert for Anis Amri on December 21 after immigration documents identifying him were found in the cab of the lorry used in the deadly attack.
Anis Amri’s family had urged him to give himself up, and on December 23 his mother criticized Italian and German security officials for not sending him back to Tunisia, where the rest of the family still live, in an interview with German broadcaster Deutsche Welle.
A spokesman for Germany’s interior ministry would not comment on reports in the German media that Anis Amri had been filmed at a mosque in Berlin in the hours after the attack.
Separately, police arrested two people in the German city of Oberhausen on suspicion of planning an attack on a shopping centre.
Italian Interior Minsiter Marco Minitti praised the two police officers who had apprehended Anis Amri, and said the operation showed how Italy’s security system was working well.
President Vladimir Putin and key EU leaders have met Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in Milan to discuss the eastern Ukraine crisis.
The leaders of the UK, Germany, France and Italy were expected to press Vladimir Putin to do more to end the fighting.
Italian PM Matteo Renzi said after the talks he was “more positive” on prospects for a solution to the crisis.
The West accuses Russia of arming separatist rebels and sending regular troops to Ukraine. Moscow denies this.
Ukraine and the rebels agreed a truce in September, but each side accuses the other of repeated shelling.
The separatists control parts of Ukraine’s Donetsk and Luhansk regions.
More than 3,600 people have been killed since the fighting erupted in April, following the annexation by Russia of Ukraine’s southern Crimea peninsular a month earlier.
Vladimir Putin and key EU leaders have met Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in Milan to discuss the eastern Ukraine crisis
Vladimir Putin, Petro Poroshenko and EU leaders met on the sidelines of the Asia-Europe (ASEM) summit in the northern Italian city.
The other participants in the meeting included UK Prime Minister David Cameron, French President Francois Hollande, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Matteo Renzi.
Speaking briefly after the talks, the Italian prime minister said they were constructive but big differences remained.
“I’m more positive, I hope we can work together very strongly,” he told journalists.
Petro Poroshenko met Angela Merkel ahead of Friday’s talks, with both expressing regret that many points of a peace plan agreed last month in the Belarusian capital Minsk “had not yet been implemented”, German government sources were quoted as saying by the AFP news agency.
Angela Merkel also met Vladimir Putin for two-and-a-half hours late on Thursday, October 16.
Russian media quoted Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov as saying that there were still “serious differences” between the two leaders over the origins of the crisis.
Angela Merkel said it was “first and foremost” Russia’s responsibility to make sure the peace plan was being followed.
Among other points, the plan envisages the withdrawal of heavy weaponry 10 miles by each side from the line of contact and the withdrawal of all foreign mercenaries from the conflict zone.
Earlier this week, Vladimir Putin ordered the withdrawal of nearly 18,000 Russian troops stationed near the Ukrainian border.
However, NATO says it has seen no sign of any major Russian pullback.
Speaking ahead of the Milan talks, Vladimir Putin stressed that he would not be blackmailed by the EU and US over the Ukrainian crisis.
In what was seen as a direct reference to President Barack Obama, the Russian leader warned of “what discord between large nuclear powers can do to strategic stability”.
The two-day ASEM summit brings together more than 50 member states.
Italian soprano Magda Olivero has died at the age of 104 in Milan after a career spanning more than 70 years.
Magda Olivero died on September 8 in hospital after suffering a stroke last month, Italian news agency Ansa reported.
She made her debut in the 1930s but stopped performing after getting married in 1941.
Magda Olivero was coaxed back on to the stage 10 years later and enjoyed renewed stardom in Europe and the US.
She was still performing in public at the age of 99.
Magda Olivero made her debut in the 1930s but stopped performing after getting married in 1941
La Scala opera house in Milan – where Magda Olivero made her earliest performances – asked the public to hold a moment of silence before a performance on September 8.
The opera house described Magda Olivero’s voice as charismatic, her acting as formidable and her intelligence as “ready and cutting until the end”.
Italian daily La Repubblica said even in March 2010 when she performed at the Palazzo Cusani in Milan her voice was still “grandiose”.
The New York Times described Magda Olivero as a soprano who “for decades whipped audiences around the world into a frenzy of adulation that was operatic even by operatic standards – despite the fact that by her own ready admission she did not possess an especially lovely voice”.
It said that over the years bootleg recordings of Magda Oliver’s voice “passed from hand to covert hand among her legions of acolytes”.
“At live performances, she took the stage to screams of ecstasy and left it to thundering ovations,” the publication said.
Magda Olivero’s signature roles included title parts in Puccini’s Tosca, Umberto Giordano’s Fedora and Luigi Cherubini’s Medea.
Taxi and rail services strikes have disrupted transport in major European cities.
Two-thirds of trains were not running in some areas of France in a strike against reforms and taxis were blocking traffic around some airports.
Cab-drivers are protesting at what they regard as a lack of regulation of rival mobile service Uber.
A protest began in Madrid early on Wednesday and action was to take place in London, Milan and other cities.
The biggest taxi associations in Madrid asked their drivers to observe a 24-hour stoppage until 06:00 on Thursday morning. More than 15,000 licensed vehicles operate in Madrid, Spanish media say.
Taxi drivers in major European cities are protesting at what they regard as a lack of regulation of rival mobile service Uber
The London protest was to start in Trafalgar Square at 14:00 BST, with taxi drivers arguing that the Uber mobile app, which originated in the US, was tantamount to a taxi meter, which only black cabs are legally entitled to use in London.
Up to 12,000 drivers are expected to take part in the protest.
The Metropolitan Police said conditions had been imposed on protesters after they failed to meet with officers to discuss their plans.
In Milan, in northern Italy, a protest was taking place throughout Wednesday, although disruption was not expected to be on a similar scale as elsewhere, with boycotts expected of key sites such as railway stations and squares. Cab drivers also staged demonstrations in Rome and Naples.
Protests were taking place in several German cities, including Berlin and Hamburg.
But the worst of the disruption was in Paris, where train services were also badly affected by strike action.
Only one in three trains was running in the Paris region, although Eurostar services were unaffected.
Unions are objecting to plans to merge the rail network operator with the train company SNCF. The company said some 28% of railway staff had walked out.
Workers were also considering whether to extend the strike into Thursday. Several regions had voted to continue the stoppage, French media reported.
Conductor Daniel Barenboim is stepping down as musical director of La Scala opera house two years early at the beginning of 2015.
Stephane Lissner, superintendent of Milan’s La Scala, called Daniel Barenboim’s departure the “end of an era”.
Daniel Barenboim joined the world-renowned opera house in 2006 before becoming musical director in December 2011.
Unconfirmed reports in Italian media suggested he will be succeeded by Milanese conductor, Riccardo Chailly.
Conductor Daniel Barenboim is stepping down as musical director of La Scala opera house two years early at the beginning of 2015
Stephane Lissner is also leaving La Scala in August 2014 to manage the Paris Opera and will be succeeded by Alexander Pereira, the Austrian artistic director of the Salzburg Festival.
Alexander Pereira previously indicated that he would like an Italian to be the next musical director and Italian media suggested Riccardo Chailly would be his choice.
Israeli-Argentine Daniel Barenboim, 70, will continue to work on his many other projects, including establishing an academy for Israeli and Palestinian musicians and overseeing an academy for young musicians in Berlin, housed in a concert hall built by architect Frank Gehry.
Some of Daniel Barenboim’s commitments at La Scala in 2014 include Rimsky-Korsakov’s The Tsar’s Bride, Cosi Fan Tutte by Mozart and Verdi’s Simon Boccanegra.
Daniel Barenboim will open the 2014-15 season with Fidelio, Beethoven’s only opera.
Lady Gaga showed off a machine gun at her audience as she performed in Milan as part of her Born This Way tour on Tuesday night.
Emerging from a stone castle, Lady Gaga, 26, looked positively angelic in a flowing white gown, matching fur coat and a trademark quirky headpiece as she held a giant machine gun in her hands.
And that wasn’t the only gun reference of the evening, with Lady Gaga later showing off her curves in a black bra let with weapons strapped to the front.
As usual, Lady Gaga was out to shock with her spectacular showcase, and made sure to flash the flesh in a series of revealing outfits as she took to the stage in Italy.
In addition to her skimpy ensembles, she added a host of weird and wonderful outfits to her collection, including a giant statue of liberty headpiece.
Meanwhile, in another set, Mother Monster channeled her inner rock chick, taking to the stage in leathers on a fierce motorbike.
And once again, the carnivorous theme was back in force, with Lady Gaga taking her obsession to a new extreme by reclining back on a sofa made entirely of meat while surrounded by her troupe of dancers.
The star later ripped off her outer clothing to delight crowds with her controversial meat dress once again as giant lions hung in the background of the stage.
But it would seem being in Italy has made Lady Gaga somewhat homesick for her New York-based Italian father, Joe Germanotta.
Writing on her Twitter page, she said: “little italian girls all grown up, living the life. @germanottajoe be home soon daddy for spaghetti.”
And it wasn’t just her family the star was longing for as she continues travelling the world on her epic 113-date tour.
Lady Gaga also confessed she was missing her boyfriend, actor Taylor Kinney, whose new show Chicago Fire previewed in the US on Tuesday night.
She tweeted: “Miss T so much, so excited his show CHICAGO FIRE has their premiere 2nite. Congratulations Dick Wolf and the whole cast! Sending my love!”
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