Wednesday 2 January 2013

62% of dead cyclists blamed for their death in 2012.

The new years started and with much enthusiasm I looked forward to the Rad Jahr 2013. My optimism did not last too long (2 days) until frustration drowns it out.

"Jedoch ist die Zahl der getöteten Radfahrer gegenüber den Vorjahreszahlen von 42 auf 50 gestiegen, wobei 31 Personen durch eigenes Verschulden ihr Leben lassen mussten."


The release of the traffic safety statistics for 2012 blames 62% of dead cyclists for their death in 2012. 
The clear conclusion from this is that the majority of cyclists have a significant responsibility for their safety and they are not understanding or taking this responsibility seriously. This will no doubt lead to various political calls to clamp down on cyclist behavior.

Now please understand that without true understanding of the circumstances my opinions here are only my thoughts on the subject. A death is not something that should be used for political gain however my political gain is to try an prevent more injuries in the future so please forgive me.

Dead people can not defend their actions and I have no access to the data and there is no information about its quality.  However seriously injured people can tell their side of the story, so it would be interesting to see if 62% of seriously injured cyclists blame themselves for the accident that caused their injury.  It would be even more interesting (potentially lifesaving) to investigate the true cause of the accidents to understand the reasons for the behaviors that lead up to the collisions.

Looking for publicly available data for Austria I can find out numbers and locations but causes are only looked at for motor cars.  This maybe because cars are the main source of accidents and they do the most damage due to their high numbers and the momentum discrepancy between 2 tones of metal at 50kmph and low speed pedestrian and cycling human bodies.

A proper look at the UK statistics  shows that cyclists in the UK are not normally the ones to blame when there is an accident.  This makes sense to me as I concentrate a lot more when I cycle than when I drive. 
Normally the more vulnerable a person is the less likely they are to take risks. Maybe they take risks or make mistakes if they are confused or if road design ignores their needs and causes unpredictable behavior due to inhomogeneous poor quality infrastructure?

Surly the 522 that died on Austria roads and their families are worth some intelligent consideration. Let see if the city of Vienna can turn Rad Jahr into the year where road design is looked at from a human perspective or if we will have a year of marketing from the left and cyclist blaming and bashing from the right, while journalists copy and paste the press releases of
car orientated road design organizations.


  1. The original press release does not pick out cyclists like Die Presse article does.

    On refection and discussion I suspect this is one Journalists rather unfair "interpretation" and some inaccuracy in the data collection that are the key problems here.

  2. "RadJahr 2013" is "only" a marketing strategy of Vienna. And I'm sure it was a good decision to do that.

    You wrote: "we will have a year of marketing from the left and cyclist blaming and bashing from the right, while journalists copy and paste the press releases of car orientated road design organizations."

    This is for sure what we will get. :( But on the other hand we also will get a higher quota in modal share.

    And that is why I think RadJahr 2013 was a good idea. We are living in a democracy. This means we'll get what most people want (what is fatal because of peer pressure). So we have to increase the modal share and then we will get the money to build the infrastructure. I know what you're thinking about that approach but that is how democracy works...

  3. Good points Peter_Alexander and I like your optimism.