In recent months, RTV Noord conducted an investigation into hazardous intersections for cyclists. Almost 3,000 people collectively highlighted over 1,500 crossings as potentially dangerous. However, some intersections were regarded as safe, with the top choice being the bicycle roundabout at Wilhelminakade.
Cyclists are usually less inclined to pinpoint safe locations compared to identifying places where they feel unsafe. The most frequently mentioned high-risk crossing is the Aweg and Westersingel intersection, which was flagged 75 times.
The roundabout at Wilhelminakade presents a peculiar case. On one hand, 25 individuals categorized it as unsafe, while on the other, 13 people deemed it safe. Why would that be the case?
No longer deemed unsafe?
Between 2019 and 2022, the municipality reported six accidents at this intersection, which resulted in four injuries, following its transformation into a bicycle roundabout. According to the city, this intersection was not previously recognized as a site with a high accident rate.
The municipality stated that particularly local residents felt unsafe at this intersection in the past. “It was subjective,” mentioned a municipal spokesperson. “At that time, we reviewed accident statistics, and not much was happening there. When incidents did occur, it typically involved two cyclists colliding at low speeds. Unpleasant, but not disastrous.”
“We asked residents during a session what they wanted us to do about the intersection. Various options were discussed, from doing nothing at all to turning it into shared space (as is the case in many parts of the city center).” The latter was not a viable option for the residents.
Regulating the flow of student cyclists
For the municipality, it was crucial to better regulate the flow of cyclists between Herman Colleniusbrug and Zernike. Cyclists heading from the station to Zernike had two choices: one via the Paddepoel shopping center and one along the Jaagpad next to Reitdiep.
Cyclists heading from Hoofdstation toward Zernike are now directed via the Jaagpad. To streamline the left-turning bicycle traffic towards Jaagpad at Wilhelminakade, the municipality opted for a separate bike path to the left, bypassing the bicycle roundabout.
“We wanted to encourage cyclists to take the Jaagpad route to Zernike to alleviate the Zonnelaan intersections in Paddepoel, but in a safe manner.”
According to the municipality, if the separate turn were not available, and cyclists had to go all the way around the roundabout to access the Jaagpad, many would not likely have done so. In the old setup, this was already somewhat the case, the city officials explained. The separate bike path around the roundabout could enhance cyclists’ sense of safety, but according to Gerd Weitkamp, associate professor at the University of Groningen, something else might also be at play.
Cyclists have the right of way on the roundabout, while it is a regular intersection for cars, necessitating them to yield to cyclists. There are undoubtedly cyclists familiar with the old setup who compare it to the current one. “It could well be that they feel safer because they know the intersection was recently adjusted,” he says.
https://northerntimes.nl/cyclists-identify-safest-intersection-in-the-city/ Cyclists identify safest intersection in the city – The Northern Times