Wednesday 1 February 2012

Share the Road and Safety in Numbers.

Some Cycling campaigners are keen to promote the idea of sharing the road and that safety in numbers leads to better conditions for cyclists. This is a nice idea but unfortunately it is total bollocks.

Is the very basic and questionable relationship between number of cyclists and accident rates really solid science on which to base traffic policy?

Fred Wegman (Director-manager SWOV: Institute for Road Safety Research in the Netherlands.) on page 3 says here that:

"I do not expect that just a greater number of cyclists will on its own result in a risk reduction for the cyclist. On the other hand, I do expect that more cycling facilities will lead to lower risks. Policy that only focuses on an increase in cycling and at the same time ignores the construction of more cycling facilities, will not have a positive effect on road safety."

and I believe he maybe knows what he is talking about because the Netherlands has the safest roads in the World despite also having a largest proportion of vulnerable cyclists road users.

I believe that roads like this:

are the reason there are not many cyclists in London and why the roads are unsafe for vulnerable road users. I also believe that roads like this:

are the reason that there a lots of cyclists in the Amsterdam and why they are safer. Yes there will always be conflict and there will be accidents but the results of mistakes have a much lower consequences in terms of injuries if you share the road with similar types of vehicle. The Dutch road design aims to remove or reduce the conflict between dissimilar vehicles.

How they built this infrastructure is detailed here:

Good infrastructure and high cycle modal share benefits all road users, even car drivers.

Copenhagen gets it:

Vancouver are getting it:

Some of Vienna sort of gets it but I feel the focus is more on law and promotion more than crap road design. I do not think I am the only one that thinks this as this article form 2009 seams to agree.

Why am I banning on about this. Well I am feed up with the bad road design that leads to unnecessary dangerous conflict. I am inspired that "Cycle campaigning in the UK has now got serious" and I hope this will also happen in Vienna.


Koos said...

Hey Doug,

Must say that motorists in the UK have a terrible attitude against cyclist. I'm dutch, and lived in Glasgow. Brought my bike there (silly me) but after a few outings decided the aggresiveness of cars there wasn't worth. So left the bike in the shed. It's the attitude of motorist in the Netherlands towards cyclists that is lots better. Am in Groningen now, and cyclists rule the city (must say that the cyclists and pedestrians rule the city streets, which is weird).
Not sure why I'm writing this, but anyways, there you go ;)


Doug Culnane said...

Thanks for the comment Koos. Do you think it is the drivers as people that are different or is it the road design that makes the UK a more aggressive environment for cyclists.

I know what it was like to cycle in the UK 10 years ago and I do not think it has changed much. I now live in Vienna and get the same conflict which I believe is a result of the way roads are designed. However I do not have your experience of riding in Holland. From what i read about it is sounds wonderful, that pedestrians and cyclist rule the road rather than bigger and bigger SUVs.

Maybe I have got this all wrong and should buy one of these ( to get to work, that way I would get some respect and be safe.

Koos said...

Road design is much better here. But also, in places where the roads are poor, the cars do mind cyclists. Made me think of bringing my skates to Tel Aviv, not sure if people would accept them. But people were really cool about them, and didn't mind me mingling amongst the cars there.
Must say the cyclist in the first movie was a bit stressed out too ;)
Remember cycling in Austria once (passing through). Got warned by police as we were cycling 2 up, in a small village. Yes officer, it is very dangerous to cycle next to each other. I'm truly very sorry indeed, yeah right.
Hope they'll get used to cyclists more!

Doug Culnane said...

Here is a great Blog post on this subject: