Monday, April 28, 2008

A new plan for bike safety in the Netherlands

This is intended as a companion post to the previous one.

The Dutch biker's union (fietsersbond), which is quite a strong lobby here, has noticed that bikes tend to "lose" in bike-vs.-car collisions, and has started agitating for cars to be equipped with EXTERNAL airbags.

(Fietsersbond logo; it says "collision-friendly cars")

Yes, that means, airbags placed on cars so that when they run into a bike, the airbag will inflate to protect the biker. They'd be placed on the front windshield, where the head usually strikes.

Here's a series of photos from a report compiled by the scientific research organization TNO, which carried out a study for the Fietsersbond.

An accident w/o airbags:

As expected, head injuries are the worst source of fatalities; hospitalizations are usually broken legs and arms according to the report (in English).

The new plan:

The Fietsersbond estimates this would save 60 lives per year.

Drivers of course have screamed bloody murder (in Dutch) about the idea because it would increase costs on the already highly-taxed automotive experience in Holland. They suspect the hand of a corporation is somewhere in all this.

Even as a somewhat pro-bike biased observer, I wonder whether the money wouldn't be better spent elsewhere. For instance strengthening dikes.


Anonymous said...

i read an article which quoted an engineering student who wrote in his thesis that if you really want to promote road safety, you have to replace all airbags with steel spikes.
Everyone will be watching out then.

Toby Sterling said...

@Cracken _ that, sir, is hilarious. Very HHGTTG.