German town abolishes traffic lights and codes. Accidents are now almost non-existent!
In recent weeks there have been a lot of traffic incidents involving bikes, in London there have been 5 deaths in 9 days. So what is being done to change the way that people think about bikes and the way that the road is shared? A lot of the problems stem from the lack of cycle lanes, the consideration given to cyclists on the road, the simple lack of space and the lack of space given by other motorists/cyclists. Developing a new way of thinking for the road is the only thing that can be done. Boris Johnson’s cycle superhighway in London was a great idea on paper and something that was built with the right intentions, but it simply does not work as well as it should in practice.
London is a tricky city for cyclists. Obviously it is the most convenient and least expensive way to get across the city, but does it mean taking your life in your own hands when you choose to cycle? I for one cycle in London on a regular basis, pretty much every journey I make I take a bike along. For me cycling in London is always fine, I know the dangers and know when to go and when not to, but others lack some basic skills and awareness. This causes them to get into dangerous and potentially life treating situations. I know that not all incidents are the drivers fault or the cyclists fault, but if they took care and worked together it would mean fewer incidents and safer roads for all.
In some small towns in Germany and Holland they have taken the next step to making there roads safer and are trying out a revolutionary idea to make the towns friendlier to all that pass through. They have completely done away with road signs and any kind of markings on the road, meaning that the responsibility falls to the motorists and cyclists to decide when and where to go and also how the road should be shared. A huge risk was taken with this idea, the dangers could have been deadly! It is about changing peoples thinking about driving and sharing the space on the road with the same consideration that they expect to be given. So far the idea has been a successful one, after the initial trepidation about the idea, drivers soon relaxed into it and the town has become a far safer and more considered place, with traffic jams becoming a thing of the past. If this idea could be used on a larger scale and developed it could potentially change peoples thinking and make accidents a thing of the past.
The real question is if a revolutionary idea like this could be applied to a city like London or Paris or any other larger city that has regular incidents, is the idea only workable to smaller boroughs/towns or could it be rolled out on a large scale?