Tag Archive: Road Safety

  1. Cycling-related facial injuries do not vary between e-bikes and conventional bicycles

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    Source: Fietsberaad.nl

    As the usage of both e-bikes and conventional bikes increases, so does the number of bicycle-related injuries. New research explores whether e-bikes hold a larger share of facial injuries after an incident.

    Researchers at the Groningen University Medical Centre explored the nature of cycling-related facial injuries (maxillofacial fractures) and whether there are differences between those experienced by e-bike users or regular cyclists. The recently released paper will assist in emergency room injury treatment.

    311 patients were examined across 4 hospitals for the presence and severity of injury between May 2018 and October 2012. Of these patients, 73 were riders of e-bikes, and a range of other factors such as age and alcohol consumption were taken into consideration. In the sample, it appeared that e-bike riders more often suffered fractures to the centre of the face, while jaw fractures and serious dental injuries were more common for conventional cyclists.

    However, when results were corrected in line with additional factors, the conclusion was that patient-specific characteristics, such as age, alcohol use, and comorbidities (the simultaneous presence of two or more medical conditions), may have a greater influence on a rider sustaining maxillofacial fractures than the type of bicycle ridden.

    Based on the results, the researchers see reason to promote the use of bicycle helmets among the elderly and vulnerable cyclists, because it has been proven that their use reduces head injuries and has a protective effect against facial injuries and fractures.

  2. Forest in Aarhus, Denmark, implements ‘RopeLight’ infrastructure

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    Source: Fietsberaad

    RopeLight is a continuous LED light strip that lines the forest’s cycle path, installed as part of the BITS project to improve safety and offer a new cycling experience.

    In the Aarhus location, the installation of regular street lights would have been difficult, leading to a poorly-lit route. The newly installed RopeLight infrastructure guides the cyclist on the path through the forest in the dark hours.

    The LEDs’ color schemes can be altered according to the season or to highlight events and other initiatives. Creators of RopeLight hope that this will add a level of excitement when traveling the route. Additionally, the LEDs can be dimmed to ensure a light level that allows cyclists to benefit from the solution while not being overwhelmed by the light.

    BITS is a four-year project within the European Interreg, in which several countries work together to increase bicycle use and safety through ITS applications.

  3. Commuting upgrade: Brussels to Leuven cycling highway planned for 2025

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    Source: Mayor.eu, D. Balgaranov

    The new 16km highway (F29) will connect the two cities, providing a safer route for commuters to pursue more sustainable transportation options

    Recently announced by authorities in Belgium, a newly planned bicycle highway will connect the city of Leuven in Flanders to the country’s capital of Brussels. Many in the region already make the journey between the two cities as a part of their daily commute, thus, the project is likely to be positively received.

    The Flemish government aims to make the journey between the cities safer and faster, with construction starting next year and managed by The Werkvennootschap, a public works company. Additionally, the highway will link to the planned Brussels cycling ring, further connecting the wider city.

    Cycling Highways – a growing trend

    Bicycle highways have caught the attention of many governing bodies as of late, with projects announced across multiple regions. The infrastructure aims to handle the growing number of cycling commuters in a safe, efficient way. And, although most cities still do not have enough bike traffic to warrant the massive development, as Munich’s Deputy Mayor Katrin Habenschaden explained in a statement in May 2022: “If you sow cycling highways, you get cyclists.”

  4. The local governance of micromobility – Paris case study

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    Source: Eltis, H. Figg

    Europe’s main observatory on urban mobility, Eltis, releases write-up on the role of local authorities in planning and managing rapidly growing new mobility services

    The case study of Paris explores how action was taken after the swift introduction of free-floating e-scooter fleets and increased personal ownership, including the introduction of a Code of Good Conduct while awaiting a legal framework.

    Of key interest is the 18-month period that could be considered a ‘legal vacuum’, in which e-scooters were not subject to the Highway Code, and the National Law on Mobility (LOM) was stalled as it awaited approval by the French government.

    Paris’ governing body acted to create a working group for all e-scooter stakeholders, inviting operators of the devices to sign a Code of Good Conduct before the end of May 2019. From here, any new operator of e-scooters in the region was invited to join the group to discuss the use of rental e-scooters in public spaces.

    The Code of Good Conduct provided guiding principles and paved the way for good public-private collaboration. Operators were encouraged to work on a deployment strategy that respects other users, with the main aspects of the Code covering:

    • Parking and riding rules
    • Operators’ commitments regarding safety and security
    • Respect for other users, particularly people with disabilities
    • Relationship with the city authorities
    • Use of e-scooters in line with sustainability priorities of the city.

    Stress was placed on the need to ensure pedestrian comfort and safety while awaiting national legislation. Paris is a leading example of local governance and public-private cooperation. Other similar cities are increasingly deciding to be in the driver’s seat when it comes to managing the offer and operations of new mobility services.

    In a landscape where cities are experiencing a transport transformation in many forms, a well-regulated and integrated urban mobility policy will ensure a smooth transition that is a success for all users of public space and road systems.

    Using Paris as a case study, transport planners may observe both successes and challenges in adapting to unfolding technological advances. Read the full Eltis write-up, which includes additional context, results, transferability, and opportunities for development, here.

  5. UDV research: E-bikes are not more dangerous than regular bicycles for most users

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    Source: fietsberaad.nl

    Statistics provided by the German Insurers Accident Research (UDV) indicate that an e-bike is no more dangerous than a regular bicycle in most cases, despite differing opinions.

    As e-bike usage in Germany has grown, so has the associated number of accidents. At a glance, it appears the proportion of elderly people involved in e-bike crashes may have increased, but following analysis, this can actually be attributed to a higher proportion of elderly riders using e-bikes. What is striking is that there are relatively more single-vehicle accidents involving e-cyclists and more accidents generally outside of built-up areas.

    Of course, the question is whether e-cyclists run a higher risk per kilometer driven. E-cyclists in Germany drive on average 1.8 times as many kilometers per day than regular cyclists. Once the difference in distance is taken into account, it is revealed that the age group 34-74 is not at a higher risk. This applies to involvement in accidents, the cause of accidents, and the outcome (injury or fatality). However, the risk is higher for those between 18-34 years old and to a lesser extent the over-75s. German researchers hypothesize that young people may take more risks while riding and use the pedal assist to ride faster than regular cyclists.

    Incidentally, Germany also struggles with incomplete accident figures. The police only register injury crashes and hardly any single-vehicle crashes. Therefore, a research gap is present and further analysis must be considered once data is available.

  6. THOR AVAS launches pedestrian safety survey

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    LEVA-EU member THOR AVAS conducts research to improve road and pedestrian safety. The recently launched survey takes no more than 5 minutes and will aid in deepening the understanding of acoustic safety in relation to LEVs.

    Access the survey, here.

    Please join us and together we will understand how to make the environment more comfortable and safer.” – THOR AVAS

  7. Powers to enact 30km/h low-speed zones demanded by over 260 German cities

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    Source: TheMayor.eu, D. Balgaranov

    Municipalities in Germany are unable to issue their own maximum speed laws, impacting the success of liveable city initiatives.

    In 2021, 7 German cities announced a new initiative, advocating for the right of municipalities to set their own speed limits. Since the founding cities of Aachen, Augsburg, Freiburg, Hanover, Leipzig, Münster, and Ulm sparked the conversation, 263 municipalities have declared their support.

    The ‘Liveable cities through appropriate speeds’ initiative focuses on the central right to enact 30km/h low-speed zones. The basis for this rests on the idea that liveability and quality of life are closely associated with public spaces and the interaction between motor and pedestrian traffic in these areas. Low-speed zones have been shown to reduce noise pollution, carbon dioxide, and nitrogen dioxide pollution and decrease the risk of fatal injuries in the areas they are enacted.

    The initiative’s four demands, signed off by mayors, city councilors responsible for mobility and urban development, and urban planning departments are:

    • A commitment to a turnaround in mobility (away from personal vehicles and towards other means of transportation) and quality of life measures in cities.
    • A 30km/h speed for motor vehicle traffic, including on main roads, is an integral part of a sustainable, city-wide mobility concept and a strategy for upgrading public spaces.
    • Petition the federal government to immediately create the legal prerequisites for municipalities to be able to order a maximum speed limit of 30 km/h where the municipalities deem necessary.
    • A funding model for research projects to determine the individual aspects, benefits, and effects of this regulation, to improve the application of this principle.
  8. New German portal showcases the subjective safety of bicycle paths

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    Source: Fietsberaad

    The web-portal highlights what infrastructure should look like if it is to be experienced as ‘safe’ by the rider. The portal will act as a point of reference for future developments.

    The new portal allows the comparison of 1,700 cycling scenarios and infrastructure solutions. Data is based on an online survey of approximately 22,000 participants and 400,000 reviews.

    A cycle path that is experienced as safe by a rider increases the chance of use, and so the goal of the portal is to ensure paths feel safe; safe development will convince more individuals to consider cycling. Of course, the perception of safety is subjective, hence the study method.

    The cycle path check aims to visualize this subjective aspect. In the online database, 1,779 different embodiments for bicycle infrastructure have been identified with filter options to choose from. These include, for example, marking, presence of parking, separate bicycle paths, whether car-free, etc.

    The German Federal Ministry for Digital Affairs and Traffic funded the website, which was developed by FixMyCity as part of the national bicycle traffic plan. Visit the new portal here.

    An example cycling scenario, rated highly ‘safe’ by cyclists (Source: https://radwege-check.de/)
  9. New Brussels-specific e-scooter rules add stricter measures than those governing the country as a whole

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    Source: Eltis, M. Modijefsky

    As of July 1, 2022, new federal laws for the use of e-scooters in Belgium came into place. In the Brussels Capital Region, even stricter measures have been implemented to protect pedestrians. The changes are part of an effort to address concerns over road safety and hindrance linked to the increasing use of e-scooters.

    To address the concerns over e-scooter safety new regulation was required. Georges Gilkinet, Federal Minister of Mobility, explained: “The world has changed and so has our mobility. The electric scooter is now part of our daily life. But with the increase in the number of accidents, sometimes with serious consequences, it was necessary to react. New rules will come into effect from 1 July to better protect scooter users and other road users. Let’s strive together for more safety and fewer accidents on our roads. All For Zero”.

    The new rules:

    The new rules mean that users of e-scooters, or any other micromobility transport method, will be assimilated to cyclists. In effect, riding on sidewalks or in pedestrianized areas is no longer permitted. In situations where permitted, speed must be reduced to 5km/h and pedestrians have right of way.

    Additionally, a minimum age requirement of 16 years has been introduced, and riding e-scooters with two or more passengers is prohibited. Alongside these changes, new guidance for e-scooter parking has been introduced, including signage for designated parking destinations, non-parking zones, and laws against obstruction of the sidewalk.

    Additional rules in Brussels:

    The new rules have also been welcomed in the Brussels-Capital Region. At the same time, the Region has introduced additional rules on the use of e-scooters. Elke Van den Brandt, Brussels Minister of Mobility, added: “Electric scooters are a convenient way to get around, as long as they do not hinder pedestrians and people with reduced mobility. That is too often the case now. Thousands of these shared scooters appeared on our streets and it is high time for stricter regulation. In addition to the federal rules, the Brussels-Capital Region decided to automatically limit the speed of scooters in pedestrian zones and to limit the number of scooters per operator.

    Specifically, e-scooters in pedestrianized zones are now limited to 8km/h, while across the entirety of the region, the top speed is limited to 20km/h. For comparison, the general top speed limitation of e-scooters in Europe is 25km/h.

    Bart Dhondt, Mobility Councillor of the City of Brussels, stated: “Parents, their children, and people with mobility problems no longer felt comfortable in the pedestrian zone. By ensuring that the shared-use e-scooters can only travel at a walking pace, the pedestrian zone will once again become a space for everyone.”

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