Technological developments, such as the E-bike, the speed pedelec and the (electric) cargo bike have caused that Dutch cycle paths are busier than ever before. It is not only the large numbers which are the issue. If all cycle path users were moving on similar speeds, the current provisions would still be adequate in most places. The issue is that speed differences between the users puts bicycle safety in The Netherlands under pressure. Also, large masses can be the cause of serious injuries. The impact of an electric cargo bike on full speed, with its own weight of just over 130 pounds (!), not including load, can be significant.
About half of all seriously injured road traffic victims in The Netherlands are now involved in a bicycle accident that does not involve motor vehicles. It concerns either unilateral cycling accidents or accidents between two (or more) cyclists. Think of a cyclist unwarily drifting away off the road or colliding with obstacles alongside the road, or a cyclist overtaking another without taking the opposite flow into account. These are the types of accidents we are talking about.
Loendersloot Groep and Keuzeweg, both previously involved in the development of new cycle path marking designs, have been commissioned by the Dutch governmental technology platform for transport, infrastructure and public space (CROW) to research ways to realise a safer and more future-proof bicycle path. This study focused on the role that marking can play in this. Using Signco's innovative measuring method, measurements have been carried out on five wide two-way cycle paths, on which different types of markings are present. Data was collected 24 hours a day for 46 days on the behaviour of bicycle path users. It is unique that, for the first time, also a large amount of data has been collected with regard to cycling behaviour in the dark hours. The results of the research show that the safety of cyclists can be improved by adapting current markings.
Presentations and further research
Traffic psychologist Mariette Pol from Keuzeweg and traffic expert Michiel Brouwer from Loendersloot Groep will present their findings in the Dutch mobility magazine Verkeerskunde, to be published in October. The publication will also provide an overview of all progress made on the matter over the past few years, explaining design choices already made. There will also be a presentation at the Dutch National Bicycle Congress on 19 November. This presentation will also include follow-up research that will again be carried out in collaboration with CROW.
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