Dutch research project assesses cycle safety

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Cycling infrastructure from the CycloMedia application Globespotter used for the assessment
Cycling infrastructure from the CycloMedia application Globespotter used for the assessment

A research project led by the Royal Dutch Touring Club ANWB has developed assessment protocols for rating the safety of cycling infrastructure.

In partnership with the SWOV Institute for Road Safety Research, ANWB is working on a star rating-based assessment system to inspect roads that pose a higher risk of crashes for cyclists. The research has been co-funded by the FIA Foundation, through a grant to the FIA Road Safety Grant Programme.

The bicycle fleet in the Netherlands consists of an estimated 18 million bicycles. Dutch cyclists enjoy a widespread network of separated cycle lanes and other bicycle infrastructure, and cycling is consequently a popular mass mode of transport. However, approximately 200 cyclists are killed every year and 10,000 are seriously injured in the Netherlands, comprising roughly a third of all the road fatalities and half of the seriously injured. Given that the number of bicyclists who are seriously injured is increasing, safe infrastructure is critical.

This was the motivation for establishing the ANWB research project. The development of the assessment system involved a rigorous methodology, including inputs from experts; developing indicators for an assessment system; deploying video application to get images of the cycling infrastructure; and testing the proposed assessment system. The method has been developed for bicycle paths, cycling lanes and other roads used by cyclists both in the city and beyond. The ANWB intends to award stars for cycling infrastructure design. The higher the star rating of a road, the stronger its safety performance for cyclists.

The pilot tests of the assessment system in two municipalities, work on a cycle route in one province, and a user perception survey conducted by ANWB have indicated that the system does help road authorities to assess locations that pose increased risk of collisions for cyclists. The results from the pilot also demonstrate that the star rating system for cycling infrastructure can be adapted to other countries, scalability being an objective of the research project. It is intended that this approach to assessing bicycle safety will also become part of the European Road Assessment Programme (EuroRAP) system during 2016.

For more information on the project contact ANWB: Roxy Tacq (rtacq@anwb.nl).

The research report is available at:
https://www.swov.nl/UK/Actueel/nieuws/2015/nieuws_2015_SafeCyclingNetwork.html