Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Another Summer Another Death by Design.

Summer is here again and so is the tragedy of unnecessary death by design: A 10 year old girl was killed while cycling to school while crossing a junction on a green light by a right turning truck who also had a green light!

Media interest is again on cycling and luckily the role of infrastructure design is starting to emerge. Thanks to Chris Cummins who did a great article and radio show intro.

Looking at the design of the junction from a Dutch design perspective everything is wrong.

Basic Principle 1: Function.
Mix of very busy thought route for motor traffic and a main cycling route to a school!

Basic Principle 2: Homogeneity.
Fast right turning motor vehicles including massive trucks mix regularly with crossing pedestrians, cyclists and kids on scooters etc...

Basic Principle 3: Predictability.
A massive 4 lane (in one direction!) main road turns into another main road with large curve radius and green light and little indication that the drivers should slow and be very careful of crossing vulnerable road users who have right of way.

Basic Principle 4: Forgivingness
Zero forgiveness in a conflict between a truck and 10 year old child.

Basic Principle 5: State awareness
Huge junction and both the driver and child had a green light so both were clearly unaware of the immense danger present in the situation.

This junction is not particularly unusual for Vienna. Before we talk about details of design and safety we got to get the very basics right. Until that happens this is going to happen again and again and again....