Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Death as a result of design.

The world has been reading about the terrible death rate of young women on bikes killed by truck drivers at junctions in London. Unfortunately Austria has been forced to talk about safety after there were 2 of these type of accidents on one day. Information here  and here. These together with a fatal accident involving a truck, young woman and a junction last year are at last forcing discussion of Austrian Best Practice road design at Junctions.

The accident at Wiener Hauptbahnhof happened here:
As I understand it from the news report a truck and cyclists were waiting at red lights and when the lights changed to green the truck turned right and rolled over the cyclist who was going straight ahead.

This very predictable situation happened at a brand new junction built to Austrian best practice that frankly is is total and utter crap.

Here is a sketch of the situation including the truck's blind spots.

These type of accidents are clearly happening too often and are clearly a design problem.

Of course there are plenty of fit male experienced cyclists who are happy to blame the victim of this design for not being as awesome as they are. Their advice and coping strategies can be helpful on an individual level but they are extremely unhelpful at getting the system fixed if we can only blame the individual user.

Just like the adoption of seat belts in cars we need the adoption of proven systematic solutions to systematic problems. It is clearly a systematic international problem that is not being addressed properly.

Using the graphic Mark used to try and explain a type of Dutch junction design in 2011 and an image of a trucks blind spot we can see that this design seems to be better for the truck driver and cyclists.

Junction design is complex and appropriate professional standards need to be developed.  This is not easy but copying the best answers to date should be possible for most professionals I would hope.

Austrian Cycle groups have not been too interested in this issue up until now and their main demand is for bike Boxes (or ASLs) and other useless paint which will only increase this problem to London levels where useless paint and mixing is standard.

For more information about these type of junctions  (which are only appropriate for use at certain types of junction) please follow these links: