- Category: News
- Created on Wednesday, 30 May 2012 12:17
- Written by Amsterdam Herald
The 78-year-old from North Brabant died on Monday from injuries she sustained when she fell from her cycle in Oisterwijk, near Tilburg, as a group of racers brushed past her in the opposite direction.
Two months earlier an 83-year-old man from Groesbeek, near Nijmegen, died after colliding with a scooter on a cycle lane.
The increasingly crowded nature of Dutch cycle paths has left many users feeling less safe. Racing bikes, scooters, commuters, pensioners and children all compete for the same narrow strip of tarmac.
Atze Dijkstra, researcher with the Scientific Research Foundation for Traffic Safety (SWOV), told De Volkskrant that while serious collisions between cyclists are rare, the number of accidents is on the rise.
The arrival of the e-bike, a power-assisted cycle which is popular with pensioners, has been another complicating factor, bringing more elderly and vulnerable cyclists onto the cycle lanes.
‘High speeds combined with physical vulnerability are more likely to lead to serious accidents,’ said Dijkstra.
Rising parking costs have also encouraged many commuters and shoppers to take the bike rather than the car.
Prompted by campaigns and petitions from concerned cyclists and parents, local authorities are now looking for ways to improve safety on cycle routes.
Some councils, including Amsterdam, are considering restricting access to scooters in urban areas or forcing them to use the main road.
The cyclists’ union (Fiestersbond) says the answer is to make more space available by widening existing lanes.
Four ‘cycle motorways’ have been built on busy routes such as Leiden to The Hague, and the Fietsenbond says the Netherlands should consider dual carriageways separating slow and fast cycle traffic, an option that has already been piloted in Denmark.
Another possible option is to follow Belgium’s example and allow groups of racing bikes to use the main road, provided they are accompanied in front and behind by cars.