From: Morten Lange [mailto:morten7an@...
Great picture from Copenhagen ! Reallocating space from car drivers to cyclists potentially does a lot to improve the livability of a city.
Is this done on many streets or portions of streets in Copenhagen ?
Other great steps taken "recently" in Copenhagen include :
- Restricting through traffic to cars, and giving more space to cyclists ( Could this be the same project as the above ? )
- Green waves for cyclists. As far as I recall, cyclists along major routes get a green wave on traffic lights, if they keep their speed at about 20 km/h ?
- Set targets for incerasing cycling speed, and cycling modal share
- Quality control of surfaces, etc
- Big surveys of what cyclists think about the services of the city for cyclists
Two bad things come from Copenhagen at present :
- Very badly founded and very graphic/gross and discouraging (for cycling) helmet promotion, sadly including misguided support from the Danish Cyclist Federation. See graphics at www.cykelhjelm.dk and the fun-poking and more argument- and science-filled counterpart www.cykelhjelm.org
- Apparent messages that separate facilities for cyclists are the only way forward to improve safety for cyclists, regardless of setting. (Oh, yes and helmets, and daylight running lights for cyclists. The latter might be a good-ish idea)
So what do I think, shortly, will really help regarding safety of cyclists ?
- More cyclists mean safer cyclists. Both beacuse more cyclists means car drivers are forced to notice and take heed, and because the proficiency and civility of the average cyclists increases ( I think...). ( Do a web search on "safety in numbers" )
- Strong promotion of cycling as a flag bearer of freedom, more or less care-free frugality and an environmentally sound lifestyle, thus increasing th enumber of cyclists, and increasing the awareness about cyclists in traffic amog car drivers
- Slower speeds for cars
- Stricter rules on speeding and driving when too tired or iunder the influence of drugs ( alcohol etc.
- Improved proficiency for cyclists through training like they do in the UK ( Bikeability)
- Publicity campaigns to increase respect for cyclists
- Changes/amendments to cars to reduce chances of injury in collissions with cyclists
- Improved mirrors for lorries to "eliminate" blind spots enforced much quicker
- Changes in drivers educations and tests so that the rights of cyclists are respected
- Follow the good example from DK and NL where drivers are by default "guilty" in crashes with pedestrians and cyclists, unless grave recklessness on the part of thge ped/cyclist can be "proven". ( I'd love to get more details on this and how it differs in letter en execution from other countries )
- Good lights for visibility in the dark, and perhaps even blinking lights in broad daylight
- Possibly to get rid of all signs on minor roads in towns, and let people negotiate with other roadusers. Lets them focus on each other instead of on lighths and signs. Has been tried widely in the Netherlands, and some other countries with great success.
- Possibly the use of "Bike and Chevron" markings to alert car drivers that cyclists can be expected on roads, and divert cyclists away from the opening dorrs of parked cars.
- Separated facilities appear to often increase risk at junctions, but on the other hand separate facilities make it more comfortable to cycle, thus increasing the number of cyclists, and consequently the overall safety of cyclists.
The topic of the original post was not about safety, but the topic of safety invariably pops up when talking cycling promotion, and the other picture from Jan Gehl forwarded to the list, (all cyclists in the firm wearing shining new company helmets) had its part in prompting me to write this.
Sadly I need to stress : People that like helmets, by all means wear them ! What I am saying is that they are far too strongly promoted, in relation to the very limited amount of good they do. In Australia, New Zealand and Nova Scotia, Canada, large scale uptake of helmets appear not to have reduced the rate of serious head injuries at all, but had a strong effect in reducing cycling. These results appear amongst other places in an article in an international peer-reviewed journel - BMJ - after scrutiny of the best data there is in this field. It is highly probable that reduced cycling as a result of strict helmet laws (and the same appears to go for strong helmet promotion to some extent ) has been indirectly killing people behind the curtains through sedentary lifestyles and increased air-borne pollution.
And : Today is the "European Road Safety Day. This year focusing on road traffic safety in cities. In Paris one panel discussion focused on the voices of so-called "vulnerable users" : One of the mayors of Copenhagen , Klaus Bondam, presided over the discussions. The director of The European Cyclists Federation was in the panel and was planning to focus on training for cyclists. It would be interesting to hear how it went.
11h15 – 12h15
Panel 1: Road safety in cities: opinion of the "vulnerable users"
"Grand Témoin" : M. Klaus Bondam, Mayor of
Copenhagen (Denmark) representing Eurocities
* Ms Filomena Araújo, Counciller of the Municipality of Évora (Portugal)
* Mr. Jacques Compagne, Secretary General of ACEM The Motorcycle Industry in Europe
* Mr. Jesper Christensen, Secretary General of the Swedish Motorcyclist Association (Sweden)
* M. Bernhard Ensink, Secretary General of the European Cyclists Federation ECF
* Ms Jill Allen-King, Chairperson of the Mobility and Access to Transport Commission of the European Blind Union, (United Kingdom)
--- On Mon, 13/10/08, 'Jan Gehl' <Jan@...> wrote:
From: 'Jan Gehl' <Jan@...>
Subject: [WorldCityBike] Doubling of bicycle lane widths in Key Copenhagen Streets
Date: Monday, 13 October, 2008, 10:09 AM
One of the major complaints in Copenhagen have for several years been complaints concerning congestion ....on the bicycle lanes.
A week ago one of the major Radial streets was closed to ordinary car traffic in order to widen the bikelanes i each direction to double widths and using the rest of the space to improve the conditions for the Bus traffic
yours, Jan Gehl
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