Tag Archive: Road Safety

  1. Amsterdam introduces 30 km/h speed limit with awareness campaign

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    Source: Eltis

    80% of Amsterdam’s streets set to switch from 50 km/h to 30 km/h zones from December 8th.

    To help ease the transition to the lower speed limit, the city rolled out an information campaign in the affected streets during the time leading up to the change. Temporary road sign stickers reading “December 8, 30 km/h here” have been in place, allowing drivers to become accustomed to the revised speed limit in good time.

    In addition to the speed limit change, local government is also implementing changes to traffic lanes. Special public transport lanes have been created, which are physically segregated from general traffic lanes, and where the speed limit will remain at 50 km/h.

    The introduction of the 30 km/h zones is intended to increase road safety and reduce traffic noise.

    The city has also published information about the changes and a map of the streets affected on its website here.

  2. TRL to deliver SHARP helmet safety scheme

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    Source: TRL

    TRL has been awarded a contract with the UK’s Department for Transport (DfT) to oversee and execute the Safety Helmet Assessment and Rating Programme (SHARP).

    The consumer awareness initiative was established in 2007 to support the reduction of severe and fatal head injuries typically sustained by motorcyclists involved in road collisions. Despite only constituting 1% of road traffic in Great Britain, motorcyclists account for an alarmingly high 20% of road fatalities. Of these fatalities, around 80% were attributed to head injuries. While all helmets are required to meet minimum safety standards by law, SHARP surpasses these standards, providing an independent evaluation of helmet impact performance. Helmets are rated on a scale of 1 to 5 stars, with 5-star helmets offering the highest level of protection. Additionally, SHARP provides guidance on choosing a properly fitting helmet. This information aids riders in making informed decisions within their budget at the point of purchase.

    SHARP, aiming to assess approximately 30 helmets annually, draws on research findings from international studies on road traffic incidents involving motorcyclists. These studies replicate real-world accidents in laboratory conditions, allowing for the identification of impact locations, frequencies, and severities on helmets. By subjecting helmets to more demanding impacts than required by regulations, SHARP identifies helmets that offer superior performance in real-world collisions.

    Dr. Phil Martin, Head of Transport Safety at TRL, emphasised the significance of TRL’s involvement in the SHARP program, stating, “Our appointment on the SHARP program feels like a return to our roots. From developing the original SHARP protocols, to advising the DfT on updates to the test protocols to reflect evolving helmet designs, TRL has been involved with SHARP for almost 20 years. Over time we have collected better data and provided better insights about the head injuries suffered by motorcyclists in road collisions. This data not only reveals the cause and location of injuries, but also the long term effects, derived from decades of collision research and our experience in providing expert testimony for personal injury claims.

    While helmet manufacturers prioritise safety and consumers consider it as a critical factor in decision-making, not all helmets are created equal. Dr. Phil Martin added, “SHARP solves the challenge for consumers in identifying these distinctions, as price alone does not serve as an indicator. Since its launch, helmet manufacturers and retailers have embraced the SHARP star rating system. We have confidence that they will demonstrate their continued enthusiasm for the scheme by participating in the process to update and expand it.”

    As a social purpose enterprise, TRL operates the most advanced helmet impact test facility in the United Kingdom, conducting hundreds of motorbike helmet safety tests annually. They also manage the Road Accident In-Depth Studies (RAIDS) program for DfT, collecting detailed information about road traffic collisions, causes, and outcomes. This data underpins modern road vehicle safety standards and is essential for promoting road safety.

    With a consistent commitment to key safety initiatives like NCAP and Euro-NCAP, which assign safety ratings for new cars, TRL plays a vital role in enhancing road safety. Their pivotal position in the SHARP program ensures its continued impact in safeguarding the lives of motorcyclists on UK roads.

  3. Road safety progress still too slow with over 20,000 road crash fatalities last year

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    Source: Directorate-General for Mobility and Transport

    In the past year, a total of 20,640 lives were lost in road accidents across the European Union, marking a 4% increase compared to the preceding year, as traffic volumes rebounded following the pandemic.

    While it is important to acknowledge that the long-term trajectory reveals a slight decline of -9% when compared to the pre-pandemic year, this reduction is not occurring at a pace sufficient to attain the European Union’s goal of halving the number of road fatalities by the year 2030. Moreover, the progress achieved remains conspicuously disparate among Member States. Notably, Lithuania and Poland reported the most significant reductions, exceeding 30% between 2019 and 2022. Nonetheless, the fatality rate in Poland continues to surpass the European Union average. Conversely, in the last three years, the count of road fatalities in Ireland, Spain, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Slovakia, and Sweden has either remained stagnant or exhibited an upward trend.

    The overall ranking of countries based on their fatality rates has exhibited minimal change since the pre-pandemic era, with the safest roads persisting in Sweden (with 22 fatalities per one million inhabitants) and Denmark (26 per million), while Romania (86 per million) and Bulgaria (78 per million) reported the highest fatality rates in 2022. The European Union’s average fatality rate in 2022 stood at 46 road deaths per one million inhabitants.

    The data released by the European Commission provides a comprehensive overview of road fatalities for the year 2022, building upon the preliminary information disclosed in February 2023.

    Estimates for the Year 2023:

    Preliminary statistics for the initial six months of 2023 suggest a slight reduction in road fatalities across the European Union, in contrast to the same period in 2022. Several Member States, including Belgium, France, Slovakia, and Finland, have reported significant declines. Conversely, certain countries, such as Latvia, Lithuania, Portugal, and Sweden, have witnessed substantial increases thus far. Given the inherent monthly fluctuations, making a precise projection for the entire year remains challenging.

  4. Changes to road safety laws in Italy impact e-scooters

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    Source: ETSC

    In Italy, significant road safety reforms have passed in Italian Parliament following approval by the Council of Ministers. These reforms encompass several key changes, including the following:

    1. Drink and Drug Driving: The blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit for individuals previously convicted of drink-driving will be set at zero. Mandatory alcohol interlocks will be imposed on repeat offenders. A positive drug test will result in automatic license withdrawal, with no need to prove psychological impairment.
    2. New Drivers: Italy currently applies a 70kW power limit for internal combustion engine cars for new drivers during their first year after they pass their test. An upcoming study will demonstrate the effectiveness of this measure in reducing accidents, injuries, and fatalities. The proposed reform will extend this restriction to three years.
    3. E-Scooters: Helmets will become mandatory for riders of both private and shared scooters equipped with license plates. Additionally, insurance coverage will be obligatory. E-scooter circulation will be prohibited in extra-urban areas, and shared scooter operators will need to implement geo-blocking measures to prevent this. Furthermore, indicator lights and front and rear brakes will be compulsory.
  5. Italy’s e-scooter suppression plans

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    Source: Bloomberg

    Once considered the post-covid future of urban transport, pedestrians and other road users are now viewing the transport means unfavorably. Deemed a menace to city streets and a source of obstruction on sidewalks in cities including Rome and Milan, changes are ahead.

    According to a draft of Italy’s transport code seen by Bloomberg, e-scooters will now need a registration plate and owners will need an insurance policy. In addition, of e-scooters sharing services, something that has seen rapid expansion, will also face authoritative restrictions.

    Transport Minister, Matteo Salvini, has promised to address traffic violations from e-scooter users, who will furthermore be required to wear helmets. Manufacturers of e-scooters will also be required to fit turning indicators. The Italian media did initially report the introduction of license plates for bicycles, but this was not seen by Bloomberg.

    It is not just Italy where e-scooter restraints are being aired. Many other European cities are airing complaints. This year, Paris residents voted to completely ban hiring services throughout the city.

    According to data from Osservatorio Sharing Mobility, a state-backed sector association, over 45,000 rental scooters were present on Italian streets in 2021, reflective of their use as an alternative to public transport and the absence of cycling lanes in the larger cities.

    Other proposed changes to the transport code include hardened measures for drunk driving, which includes a lifetime ban, and restrictions for those younger people who have only recently received their license.

  6. Segway’s Lite L60E sets the standards

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    Source: Zag Daily

    Following the launch of its AI-powered S90L e-scooter at Micromobility Europe in 2022, LEVA-EU member Segway-Ninebot introduces the Lite L60E, continuing to develop its range whilst recognising the user community and their accompanying environments.

    Strategic developments in improving shared mobility vehicle hardware take precedence over rapid expansion plans, as even the slightest modifications can have significant cost implications. Interests and requests are considered, and Segway’s new e-scooter, the Lite L60E, has been launched to provide safe, efficient and affordable riding.

    Segway’s Strategic Product Manager, Yao Yao, commented, “Designed with a focus not only on operators’ unit economics but also on the experience for riders and citizens on the streets, we are leveraging our engineering and extensive sharing business expertise to empower operators with the Segway Lite L60E.”, further mentioning, “This innovative vehicle is aimed at optimising unit economics, prioritising road safety, and enhancing the overall riding experience.”

    Technical efficiency

    Segway’s latest e-scooter is powered by a new 48V 576Wh battery, meaning a single charge increases the range by 30% to 65km. This naturally reduces the need for battery changes and charging, and therefore benefits the end user considerably. What’s more, highly accurate positioning by way of onboard data storage, dual-band GNSS and multi-constellation tech, means that operations teams can locate each vehicle with accuracy and efficiency in their daily tasks.

    The L60E additionally comes with improved CAN bus communication, transferring data up to eight times faster than UART communication and optimising the main control bus cable from 8pin to 5pin. This means simplified operation management and servicing.

    Safety improvements

    Frame strength was the initial focus for Segway’s safety improvements, initiated by a series of tests to meet the manufacturer’s new standards. A vibration test was performed one million times to ensure it could surpass hostile and unfathomable terrains, while a 96-hour salt spray test that encompassed electrophoresis and powder coating processes was also performed. Passing such tests means reduced repair costs and an extended lifetime for the e-scooter.

    In addition to frame safety, the L60E’s aluminium stem was put through its paces with a 600N thrust force performed over 300,000 times. The more powerful 48V battery, meanwhile, has new dual-housing that provides collision and drop protection, whilst also operating at a quieter level and delivering a more linear acceleration.

    Enhancing the user’s experience

    To improve the overall riding experience, Segway has additionally increased the width of the foot pad by 30% and has overhauled the dashboard to display only crucial information to include slow-riding, no-parking and no-riding zones.

    Some of Segway’s championed features have remained, however. The front dual suspension system, front 11.5” and rear 10.5” PU-filled tires, a high-powered 400W motor that boosts gradability up to 14%, and new generation IoT for improved positioning and location accuracy are standard.

    Customisation

    Due to the variety in country and city regulations and requirements, different customisation packages are available for the L60E, each helping to reduce costs where possible. Owners can select from two versions (EU and KC) and three vehicle types: Lite L60E, Lite L60L, and Lite L60X.

    The Segway Lite L60E was on display at the Micromobility Industries European summit in Amsterdam earlier in June.

  7. Drones to aid in dangerous traffic situations

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    Source: Fietsberaad Crow

    According to numerous Flemish pilot schemes, drones can be used to assess dangerous traffic conditions and aid cyclists on their journeys. The concept is accurate, cheap and fast and a notable step forward.

    The research was first reported upon by HLN’s daily newspaper, VeloVeilig Vlaanderen, in collaboration with VTM Nieuws. Their audiences were asked to supply information on dangerous cycling situations, and this was assessed in line with government directions into ways to tackle any problems. The Mobility Innovative Approach was introduced whereby drones were launched to map the problem areas.

    The drones took to the sky for an hour during the morning and evening rush hours, supplying images from a height of approximately 70 metres. Researchers have been able to accurately analyse the images from the drones, thanks to developed software that can distinguish between pedestrians, cyclists, cars, trucks and buses and determine their position and speed. Movements of each are relayed as coloured lines that supply accurate logistics data.

    Tom Brijs, traffic expert at Hasselt University and part of the research team, commented, “Thanks to the drone images, we discovered, among other things, that in the morning almost 40 percent of the drivers drove faster than the permitted speed of 30 kilometres per hour, in the afternoon this was even 63 percent. We could also see that a striking number of children run across the street in a place that is not actually a crossing, and that they cycle on the footpath.”

    This particular data led to changes in the crossing site for children and serves as a positive example of the research’s benefits.

  8. Allowing speed pedelecs on cycle paths does not appear to be less safe

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    Source: News Fietsberaad

    Speed Pedelec owners have been given a choice of riding on roads or cycle paths in a pilot scheme in the Netherlands

    Current laws in the Netherlands stipulate that Speed Pedelecs are not allowed to use cycle paths. However, riders may prefer to use these routes instead of joining a busy or fast road network, or when the cycle path gives a shorter route, or if parents are cycling with their children on the school commute, before continuing to their workplace. The main concern of such use however, would be safety.

    Data on Speed Pedelec speeds was compiled by DTV Consultants, commissioned by Tour de Force. The report was published in February this year and included information on Amersfoort and Rotterdam pilot schemes. Owners were able to apply for an exemption, allowing them to use the cycle paths in dense urban areas. The schemes were simple to create and didn’t cause any confrontation. Although faster than regular bikes, early data also showed no greater number of crashes than with regular cyclists. However, there was not enough data to make any conclusions on whether the cycle path option affects road safety for these users.

    Allowing Speed Pedelec riders to use roadways and cycle paths seems sensible. The high speed of such bikes means they can compete with vehicles on road networks, and appeal over long distances, in hopes of encouraging new users and aiding health and the environment. National agreements and regulations on road use by the Speed Pedelec are advocated for by Tour de Force. Until wider research is completed, they suggest that users in those pilot regions should be given the opportunity to ride on local cycle paths.

    Following completion of the aforementioned pilot schemes, a new, much larger trial is planned in Utrecht.

  9. Call to make ABS brakes mandatory on motorcycles under 125cc

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    Source: ETSC

    Brussels – The European Transport Safety Council is calling for the European Union and European national governments to make Anti-lock Braking Systems (ABS) mandatory on all new motorcycles in a new report on the state of motorcycling safety in Europe. The report also calls for practical test, and a minimum age of 16 for mopeds.

    The report found that 3,891 people died while riding a motorcycle or moped in the EU in 2021, around 90% of whom were men. That figure is 25% lower than a decade earlier but, over the same period, other road deaths fell by a third.

    According to the authors, changes to EU licensing requirements in 2013 may have contributed to the lower number of deaths by creating a series of stages to acquire a full licence for the largest and most powerful motorcycles.

    The minimum recommended age to ride a moped in the EU is now 16 but, in several countries, it is still possible to ride at the age of 14, without passing a practical test. ETSC says a practical test should be mandatory and all countries should apply the recommended minimum age of 16 or higher.

    Among the report’s other recommendations:

    • Mandatory technical inspections should be required for all motorcycles and mopeds, as well as a focus on checking that vehicles haven’t been modified for higher speeds. The European Commission is currently reviewing rules on vehicle inspections, with a proposal expected this year.
    • National governments should develop better enforcement of speed limits applying to motorcyclists in order to allow for the fact that motorcyclists cover their face with helmets so cannot be identified in countries that require identification of the driver/rider when issuing penalties.
    • Enforcement of helmet-wearing should be improved, especially in countries with very low levels of helmet-wearing such as Greece and Cyprus. The EU and national governments could also promote a consumer information scheme on the safety performance of helmets and other protective equipment such as airbag jackets.
    • Manufacturers of cars, vans and lorries should also improve their detection of motorcyclists by safety technologies such as Automated Emergency Braking.
    • Much more attention should be placed on delivery riders who now face a ‘perfect storm’ of risk factors, including distraction from mobile phone-based apps, pressure to make deliveries quickly and while unwell, a lack of protective equipment and little oversight of vehicle condition.

    Jenny Carson, the manager of ETSC’s Road Safety Performance Index programme commented:

    “In recent years motorcyclists have been less of a focus in road safety. But there are several smart and straightforward measures that can be taken to reduce the unacceptable number of deaths every year. Some are obvious such as not allowing children aged 14 to ride motorcycles. Others require a bit of innovation such as ensuring that motorcyclists can be sanctioned for exceeding the speed limit like any other road user.“

    “We also need to pay close attention to growing trends such as the number of young people, mostly men, now delivering hot food in our cities on motorcycles, working under time pressure on poorly maintained vehicles, while being distracted by app-based tools.”

    The full report, “Reducing Road Deaths among Powered Two Wheeler Users”, published as part of the ETSC Road Safety Performance Index programme, can be downloaded from the ETSC website at www.etsc.eu/pinflash44

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