Saturday, November 08, 2008

Netherlands - Women Cyclists More Vulnerable to Right Turning Trucks

The Dutch Expatriot News website Expatica reports on the vulnerability of female cyclists in Amsterdan to turning trucks because of their obedience to the law. Indeed the origin of the bike box was based on the observation that cyclists are safer when they get the head start over turning vehicles.

Women cyclists

De Volkskrant reports that lorry drivers are happy with the alarm systems and blind spot mirrors installed on their vehicles in order to prevent them running over cyclists. In an attempt to cut the number accidents involving cyclists and lorries, government made blind spot mirrors mandatory in 2003. According to de Volkskrant, some trucks also have alarm systems installed that warn pedestrians and cyclists that a vehicle is planning to make a right turn. ..

De Telegraaf reports that women cyclists are more frequently victims of blind spot accidents than their male counterparts. The paper interviews an Amsterdam police officer who says, "we can't prove it scientifically but that's what our officers on the street say. It's because women cyclists wait until the traffic lights turn green before cycling on. This means they start off at the same time as lorries and get run over. Most men run the red light so they're already gone by the time the lorry turns".


Anonymous said...

Box boxes - how do bicyclist know the light isn't going from red to green as they approach the box. Seems very dangerous. And if the light is already green, what do you do? Wait for it to turn red before proceeding?

I assume these are for bike lanes that don't have a special bike-only green phase.

Easy solution - don't ride to the right of right-turning traffic as you enter the intersection! Merge with traffic are become a pedestrian to cross the intersection. (I know Dutch bike lanes probably require this staying to the right of right-turning traffic, but it's a stupid law).

Andrew J. Besold said...


This is so odd because there was recent talk on the APBP Listerve about the same thing but this was 18month old report out of the UK saying the same thing but in this case Left Turning Trucks (They drive on the left over there so its the same issue just reversed).

I agree with the above comment and don't go to the right of trucks / buses if you think the light is going to change and if you do, get in front of the truck / bus where the driver can see you.

Andrew J. Besold said...

Oh yeah! BTW, the British report theorized that male cyclists were less likely to get hit by the left (right) hook because they were more likely to pass the trucks so they could then blow through the red light.

I'm not advocating red light running but this does go to show how the current road system and laws are clearly suboptimal for cyclists.