More traffic victims among the elderly

  • Soort:Nieuws Fietsberaad
  • Datum:27-07-2010

The number of fatalities in traffic fell by 4%, to 720, in the Netherlands in 2009. Over the past (three) years the number of fatalities among cyclists has remained virtually unchanged (189, 181, 185). The number of casualties among cyclists has unfortunately risen steadily, particularly among the elderly.

The casualties are quite often caused by unilateral cycling accidents and accidents between cyclists. The rise in the number of bicycle accidents is related to the aging of the population, leading to an increase in bicycle use among the elderly. Analysis of the data reveals that infrastructure plays a major role in approximately half of all unilateral cycling accidents. According to Fietsersbond there are also other relevant factors. Analysis of the Fietsbalans data demonstrates two factors to have a proven negative impact on the safety of elderly cyclists: noise levels (on the road) and traffic hinder (a measure for bustle on the road).
Traffic minister Eurlings feels it is mainly up to provincial and local authorities to tackle cycling dangers. To that end the minister intends to emphasise knowledge of infrastructural measures to prevent crossing accidents and unilateral cycling accidents and bring this to the notice of provincial and local authorities by means of publications by, among others, Fietsberaad.
Attention for elderly cyclists should also focus on information, education and support, according to the minister. A competition to keep the elderly cycling safely called ‘Blijf Veilig Mobiel Fiets’ provides ideas for a better bicycle for the elderly. In addition informative cycling events are organised for senior citizens. As visual abilities in particular deteriorate among the elderly, measures to increase visibility of bike paths and bollards may succeed in reducing the number of unilateral accidents. To that purpose research has begun into identification of bike paths for the visually impaired.
In addition Fietsersbond states that unlinking bicycle and car networks as well as wider bike paths may contribute to the safety of elderly cyclists.

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