Dutch working on ‘code of behaviour’ on congested bicycle paths
In the Netherlands bicycle traffic has ‘exploded’ last years leading to congested bicycle paths and more an more accidents. Dutch road managing company ANWB, the cyclists union Fietsersbond the cycling sport federation NFTU are working on a ‘code of behaviour’ on bicycle paths.
The new code of conduct should be finished by the beginning of next year, so road signs with rules for cyclists can be placed in spring. According to spokeswoman Esther van der Heijden from NFTU “it’s about cyclists ‘taking into account each other’, comparable with people on an escalator who are standing, keeping right and the ones moving left.”
“Give some room”
“Race cyclists can ring a bell when approaching and recreational cyclists should drive after each other to let faster cyclists pass”, are some examples of things that can be put on the signs along the bicycle paths. Working title for the project is “give each other some room”.
Bicycle paths are ‘over-crowded’. There are more people on the way and the average speed of different users is growing apart significantly. Also the use of smartphones on the bike is a major cause of accidents. The bicycle path “has become a jungle where people be at each other’s throats“, writes Algemeen Dagblad.
15 billion kilometres
Dutch people have started cycling 9% more the last ten years, making a total of 15 billion kilometres on the bike yearly. It leads to an average of 350.000 accidents with injuries. Figures from Veiligheid.nl show that people above 60 are most accident-prone. 200 cyclists die each year and 70% of them are older people.
“They are the most vulnerable group”, says rob Stomphost from road safety organization Veilig Verkeer Nederland (VVN). “They are reacting less swiftly, are less stable on the bike and have more severe injuries when they fall”.
“Eyes on the road, not on smartphone”
But Stomphost emphasizes every bicycle path user can use a ‘code of conduct’ to avoid unsafe behaviour. “Racing cyclists don’t have to want to race rock-hard everywhere and school kids have to keep their eyes on the road, not on their smartphone.”