European Road Safety

Discussion in 'UK and Europe' started by Michael Macclan, Feb 7, 2003.

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  1. On de.rec.fahrrad someone has just posted the following (freely translated)

    "In GB the number of accidents per 1000 inhabitants is similar to Germany or the Netherlands
    although the proportion of cyclists is between 2 and 4%.

    Until 1995 the basic rule was that cyclists are high risk participants in traffic and, in order to
    reduce the rate of accidents, it was thought advantageous to have as few cyclists as possible. Since
    then it is an official government target to have 15% of the population on bikes by 2012."

    Is this true or just prejudiced misinformation?

    --
    Michael MacClancy
     
    Tags:


  2. Dave

    Dave Guest

    "Michael MacClancy" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > On de.rec.fahrrad someone has just posted the following (freely
    translated)
    >
    > "In GB the number of accidents per 1000 inhabitants is similar to Germany
    or
    > the Netherlands although the proportion of cyclists is between 2 and 4%.
    >
    > Until 1995 the basic rule was that cyclists are high risk participants in traffic and, in order to
    > reduce the rate of accidents, it was thought advantageous to have as few cyclists as possible.
    > Since then it is an official government target to have 15% of the population on bikes by
    2012."
    >
    > Is this true or just prejudiced misinformation?
    >
    > --
    > Michael MacClancy
    >

    No idea, but it would certainly explain a lot ;-) Dave.
     
  3. Tony Raven

    Tony Raven Guest

    Michael MacClancy <[email protected]> wrote:
    > On de.rec.fahrrad someone has just posted the following (freely translated)
    >
    > "In GB the number of accidents per 1000 inhabitants is similar to Germany or the Netherlands
    > although the proportion of cyclists is between 2 and 4%.
    >
    > Until 1995 the basic rule was that cyclists are high risk participants in traffic and, in order to
    > reduce the rate of accidents, it was thought advantageous to have as few cyclists as possible.
    > Since then it is an official government target to have 15% of the population on bikes by 2012."
    >
    > Is this true or just prejudiced misinformation?

    Prejudiced misinformation. Otherwise known as a Usenet fact.

    Tony
     
  4. Andy Welch

    Andy Welch Guest

    On 7-Feb-2003, "Michael MacClancy" <[email protected]> wrote:

    > "In GB the number of accidents per 1000 inhabitants is similar to Germany or the Netherlands
    > although the proportion of cyclists is between 2 and 4%.
    >
    > Until 1995 the basic rule was that cyclists are high risk participants in traffic and, in order to
    > reduce the rate of accidents, it was thought advantageous to have as few cyclists as possible.
    > Since then it is an official government target to have 15% of the population on bikes by 2012."

    Well the part about trying to reduce the number of cyclists in order to reduce accidents seems to
    still be policy up here in Aberdeenshire. The following is taken from
    http://www.aberdeenshire.gov.uk/web/residents.nsf/html/5ALGMP?OpenDocument&style=res_3_4 "The
    Government has set a national target of doubling cycle use by the year 2002 and a further doubling
    by the year 2012. Aberdeenshire's Cycling Strategy document and the Local Transport Strategy set out
    the Council's strategies for achieving these targets. However, cyclists are one of our more
    vulnerable groups of road user, being particularly susceptible to inconsiderate drivers. The small
    visual target area presented by cyclists also makes them particularly vulnerable at junctions. We
    must therefore be very careful when trying to encourage cycle use and so increasing the exposure to
    danger, that we do not increase the number of casualties. The establishment of off-road cycle routes
    such as the recently opened Formartine and Buchan Way is an excellent means of creating a safe
    healthy route for commuter and recreational cycling. The risk of such routes is that they will
    encourage more and more people to take up regular cycling but such cyclists will not restrict
    themselves to off-road routes. The consequence, therefore, is an increase in cyclists on our roads
    and an increased exposure to risks." For reference the Formartine and Buchan Way is a converted
    ralway line that goes from Dyce (on the outskirts of Aberdeen) out to the back of beyond. The
    surface is (only just) OK but there are barriers and dismount signs whenever it crosses a road and
    it doesn't actually go anywhere that you'd (or at least I'd) want to go. So fine for little Jenny to
    make her first faltering revolutions of the pedal but pretty darn useless if you actually want to
    use your bike as a means of transport. As for the "danger" that users of this route will have the
    temerity to actually venture out on the roads where the don't belong. Well words fail me. OK words
    clearly don't fail me but I'm still trying to find a suitable set of them to send to the council.
    Somehow nothing I can think of to say quite captures my full horror when I read this. Cheers, Andy
     
  5. [email protected] wrote:

    snipped

    > Well the part about trying to reduce the number of >cyclists in order
    toreduce accidents seems to still be policy up here in Aberdeenshire.
    > The following is taken from
    >
    http://www.aberdeenshire.gov.uk/web/residents.nsf/html/5ALGMP?OpenDocument&s tyle=res_3_4
    > "The Government ............ The small visual target area presented by cyclists also makes them
    > particularly vulnerable at junctions.

    Thanks for that Andy, I hope you find the right words to register your disapproval. I found the
    description of cyclists as targets rather disconcerting!
    --
    Michael MacClancy
     
  6. > "In GB the number of accidents per 1000 inhabitants is similar to Germany or the Netherlands
    > although the proportion of cyclists is between 2 and 4%.
    >
    > Until 1995 the basic rule was that cyclists are high risk participants in traffic and, in order to
    > reduce the rate of accidents, it was thought advantageous to have as few cyclists as possible.
    > Since then it is an official government target to have 15% of the population on bikes by 2012."

    Well, I wouldn't be surprised if the proportion of the British population that owns bikes already
    exceeds the proportion of the Chinese population. Certainly the proportion of Americans does. All we
    have to do is to get people to ride the bikes that they already own.

    As for usage, there are places that already exceed 15% of the modal split. In Cambridge 27% of
    journeys are made by bike, which compares well with Amsterdam's 20%. I think at least Oxford and
    York are up there too.

    As for risk, cycling is safer than walking. The year 2000 deaths per billion km are 30 for bike, and
    48 for walking.

    I can't be bothered to look up the exact details, but essentially the gov't did change it's policy
    in about 1997. The previous policy was indeed that the best way to abolish bike accidents was to
    abolish bikes, although it was assumed that they would, eventually, just vanish by themsleves.

    In 1997 it was decided that bikes were ***GOOD THINGS***. A policy was adopted of encouraging
    cycling to double in the next five years, and double it again in the five years after that. I
    don't think that would amount to 15% nationally (People only ride bikes in the dry, flat, parts
    of Britain).

    It has been said that democracy is the principle that the people know what they want, and deserve to
    get it, good and hard. That being so, the method of encouraging people to ride was to give the non
    cyclists what they said they needed - all those new facilities that we know and love.

    The five years are now up. Result: cycling has gone down, not up at all (although only down a bit)
    and the accident rate has gone up (although just a bit)

    A couple of years before the end of the bike plan it became obvious that the targets would not be
    met. This being so, the gov't decided to have, instead of a target to double cycling, a target to
    triple it. The advantage of this is that it puts the target further away. The methods of achieving
    the tripling would be the same as those that worked so well before for doubling.

    The new idea for increasing cycling is bike education (of potential cyclists, not politicians or
    traffic engineers) The content of the courses remains controversial, since they might involve
    the unimaginably dangerous idea of making learners ride on real streets. The CTC will produce a
    paper shortly.

    Jeremy Parker
     
  7. Tony W

    Tony W Guest

    "Michael MacClancy" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...

    > Thanks for that Andy, I hope you find the right words to register your disapproval. I found the
    > description of cyclists as targets rather disconcerting!

    Disconcertingly accurate if the idiot I nearly met on the local roundabout today is typical

    :(

    I didn't really want to turn left -- but, hey, he seemed most insistent.

    T
     
  8. Jeremy Parker <[email protected]> wrote:
    >Well, I wouldn't be surprised if the proportion of the British population that owns bikes already
    >exceeds the proportion of the Chinese population. Certainly the proportion of Americans does. All
    >we have to do is to get people to ride the bikes that they already own.

    What if one counts operational bikes? I'll bet the Chinese beat us on _that_.
    --
    David Damerell <[email protected]> flcl?
     
  9. David Hansen

    David Hansen Guest

    On Fri, 7 Feb 2003 17:11:16 GMT someone who may be [email protected] wrote this:-

    >http://www.aberdeenshire.gov.uk/web/residents.nsf/html/5ALGMP?OpenDocument&style=res_3_4

    >The risk of such routes is that they will encourage more and more people to take up regular cycling
    >but such cyclists will not restrict themselves to off-road routes. The consequence, therefore, is
    >an increase in cyclists on our roads and an increased exposure to risks."

    I suggest that you remind them of what the BMA has to say on the subject. For example "Cycling
    towards health & safety", which was first published in 1992.

    --
    David Hansen, Edinburgh | PGP email preferred-key number F566DA0E I will always explain revoked
    keys, unless the UK government prevents me using the RIP Act 2000.
     
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