Unsafe is safe

Unsafe is safe


Now! I may be sounding like I am out of my mind. When I read this http://simpson.mine.nu/2008/07/verkeersbordvrij-unsafe-is-safe/, (I have a hard copy if you want), I also thought this author must be nuts. But I googled verkeersbordvrij and found quite a few posting on this kind of traffic management e.g. http://journal.plasticmind.com/world/verkeersbordvrij-europes-great-traffic-experiment/.

Basically, what this system does is to do away with all rules and regulations for driving. The only requirement for the road users is to yield to traffic from right. Rather than law keepers trying to enforce order, road users are given the responsibility to maintain order and ensure they prevent accidents.

The rationale being, not only do rules and regulations drive road users craxy, they tend to make road users do max allowed by rules. So if the speed limit is 50, they will do 50 but not worry that conditions warrant a slower speed - because as per law, I can do 50. Replace rules with standards and people behave in a radically different way.In a way I will say this is like the dominant vehicle law. Do what you like, just ensure cyclists are safe on the roads.

From cyclists perspective, the experiment is shown to have improved safety for cyclists and pedestrians and there is a move to adopt this system in the rest of Europe.

Interesting! But the second link from Plasticmind has a disclaimer this will work only if people are being curteous to one another. So New Zealand, with a lot of rude motorists may have to be careful with this. On the other hand, it could be that when road users are given responsibility to keep each other safe, they will automatically start being curteous. Remember say 30 years ago when there were less rules and regulations? Road users were more curteous than they are today. So, there may be a valid point being made here by Mikhail Bakunin. Poor guy was banished to Siberia for suggesting this.

Something to ponder over and deliberate as a CAN topic.


Groups audience: 
Group content visibility: 
Public - accessible to all site users

This comes up a lot (Dutch traffic engineer Hans Monderman's work is usually cited), but there's the potential to be a little misguided about how this works.

What the Dutch (and others) have done is not just take a typical NZ-style road environment and rip out all the signs & markings. Instead they have created a street environment that encourages slower travel and thus makes it safer for this kind of "uncontrolled" interaction to occur. In the case of Drachten, this is through the extensive use of paving-block road surfaces, narrow roadways, raised intersection platforms and a 30km/h speed limit (and yes, there are signs for this, although the street environment reinforces that travel speed). Also, this is for the LOCAL street network - when it comes to arterial roads in Drachten, there are plenty of signs and markings around! Have a look on Google StreetView to get an idea of how it all looks.

It is a great street environment to walk or bike in, but don't be fooled - you usually have to ADD quite a bit to the street (at least, OUR conventional streets) to safely counter what you have taken away...