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Mobility & Transport - Road Safety





The number of cyclists killed per cycled kilometre is very much influenced by the total number of cycled kilometres. The accident risk based on the amount of cycling is lowest in Denmark and the Netherlands (resp. 15.9 and 17.6 fatalities per billion km). The risk is particularly high in France and Great-Britain (resp. 67.7 and 52.5), where the amount of cycling is low. It has been proven that the risk decreases as exposure increases. An increase in cycling is not automatically linked with a linear increase in road casualties [72].

When facilities for cyclists are being designed, five criteria are important if their needs are to be met [72]

  • Safety: improvement of the safety of cyclists on the road is therefore a precondition for promotion of cycling
  • Coherence: continuity, consistency of quality, recognizability and completeness
  • Directness: mean travel time, detours and delays
  • Comfort: smoothness of road surface, curves, gradients, number of stops between starting point and destination, complexity of rider's task
  • Attractiveness: visual quality of the road, surveyability, variety of environment and social safety.

Moreover, design principles and measures for improving cyclist's safety include [72]:

  • Grade-separated crossings for crossing main roads (urban motorways, main arterials etc)
  • Frequent crossing possibilities along main roads, in order to prevent the barrier effect for cyclists
  • Wide cycle tracks and wide pavements along main roads, affording cyclists good accessibility, safety and security
  • Junctions provided with crossings for cyclists
  • Minimization of waiting time for cyclists at crossings (cyclists should be provided with the same rights as motor traffic)
  • In urban areas, cycling (as well as walking) should receive first priority, except on some roads with a traffic flow function for cars only.

The safety of cycling facilities is often reduced drastically by a lack of proper solutions at crossings. Cyclists' safety at crossings can be promoted by right-of-way regulations, speed reduction measures and improved visibility. Examples of speed reduction measures are raised bicycle crossings, humps, refuges in crossings, and mini roundabouts. Additionally, important features for improvement of visibility are: truncated cycle tracks, advanced stop lines at signalized junctions, and parking regulations.

To ensure first priority for cyclists (and pedestrians), technical measures are needed, supported by rules. Possibilities are [72]:

  • Advanced stopping lines at crossings with traffic lights, to enable cyclists to wait in front of motor traffic and to continue first
  • Leading phase for cyclists and pedestrians
  • Traffic lights that provide a green phase to cyclists and pedestrians twice during each cycle
  • Detectors that provide cyclists and pedestrians with green light as soon as they arrive at a crossing
  • Providing cyclists with the right to turn right when motor traffic has to wait at a red light.