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.