Dutch safety campaign puts vulnerable road users first

Own observations

Hembrow and Wagenbuur (http://hembrow.blogspot.com/2012/01/campaign-for-sustainable-safety-not.html, accessed 17.1.12) argue that the “Sustainable Safety” measures are designed from the bottom up, with priority given to vulnerable road users. They suggest that a traffic system that  is safer for vulnerable road users  is also safer for cars. The systematic focus on vulnerable road users has resulted in widespread segregation of traffic. Using speed and mass as guidelines, pedestrians are separated from bicycles and bicycles from cars. The guidelines used promote separation on roads with high volumes or high speed (50 km/h is regarded as high speed). Residential streets have 30 km/h limits.

Netherland uses “Sustainable Safety” as a mantle for its approach to Road Safety since 1992. It is using five cornerstones:

  1. Functionality (of roads)
  2. Homogeneity (of mass, speed and direction of road users)
  3. Predictability (of road course and road user behaviour by a recognisable road design)
  4. Forgivingness (of both the road and street environment and the road users)
  5. State awareness (by the road user)

The table below seems to indicate that the Dutch do not have a section dealing with safe vehicles, but are more focused on how road space is defined and shared.

Sustainable Safety (Holland) Towards Zero (WA)
Safe vehicles
Functionality of roads – three types

High speed large volume

Low speed local access

Connecting the above two

Homogeneity of mass, speed and direction of road users. Safe speed
Predictability of road course and road user behaviour by a recognisable road design Safe roads
Forgivingness of both the road and street environment and the road users Safe roads
State awareness by the road user Safe drivers
Netherlands Australia WA
Road Deaths per 100000 population in 2007 4.3 7.6 11.2
Road Deaths per 10000 registered vehicles in 2007 0.8 1.1 1.4
2010 Fatality rate compared to 1970 fatality rate 23% 40%

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