Senior researcher Torkel Bjornskau at the Ministry of Transport Economics (TØI) says: – Large and heavy vehicles and soft road users are a link that we must avoid.
However, there is often a close connection between them.
Trucks with several tons plying through pedestrian streets to deliver goods, says Arield Hermstad, vice president of the Millennium Development Goals.
If we want to get more cyclists and pedestrians, as desired, into cities, they must be safe, asserts Morgan Anderson, general secretary of the National Association of Cyclists (SLF).
It requires will and investment. A continuous cycling infrastructure, physically separate from other traffic, must be built, and politicians must also consider restrictions on motor vehicle traffic in inner city parts and across cities.
Reducing the possibilities of using a heavy truck in such areas, I think, is a constructive idea, says senior researcher Bjørnskau at TØI.
1762 cyclist injured
The background to these statements is the recent tragic accident, in which a cyclist in her fifties died after winding up under a truck in Olivalsvian in Oslo.
Unfortunately, she is not the first to die in this way. Also in the past, cyclists fatally lost in duels with heavy vehicles in Oslo, and almost every day, cyclists were injured in car collisions in the capital.
It appears from the numbers obtained by Torkel Bjørnskau in TØI from the emergency department in Oslo.
Of the 1,762 cyclists treated there in 2019, 166 crashed into cars.
More than that, a total of 199 cyclists were injured in unfortunate encounters with tram rails in the same year, while 220 required medical assistance after losing their balance during cycling trips.
At the same time, although there is a lot of concern about electric cyclists injuring themselves, there are far more cyclists who get injured in various types of accidents. That was the case in 2019, 2020 and 2021, according to Bjørnskau.
743 seriously injured
Figures obtained by Björnskau from the National Trauma Registry prove cyclists live dangerously. Nationwide, 743 cyclists were seriously injured in 2019.
So Björnskau refers to such incidents as a “major public health problem”.
Speeding down measures, rebuilding dangerous intersections and wider bike lanes are among the measures Morgan Anderson at SLF believes can reduce accident risks for cyclists. It also points out that the continuous cycle path network is something that both Oslo and all other cities in this country still miss.
Anderson says blind spots in trucks can also be dangerous for cyclists, but improvements are underway here.
A new EU directive coming in June requires new, heavier vehicles to detect a blind spot in the form of a camera or warning. We believe this equipment should also be modified to fit older vehicles.
Another directive, coming out in 2025, will require more direct views from trucks, for example by having windows all the way into what are now blind spots.
From truck to bike
However, these safety improvements aren’t enough, Anderson believes.
– It is possible to deliver goods in the center of Oslo in ways other than large trucks. Goods can be transferred to electric bikes. Therefore, reload stations from trucks to electric bikes should be built outside downtown, Anderson recommends.
– In the climate plan of Svenung Rottivaten when he was Minister of Climate and Environment, there is nothing in such an initiative. Here politicians sleep for an hour. When reviewing the climate plan, this must be taken into account. Anderson continues that it will provide environmental benefit and safety benefits.
As Dagsavisen previously wrote, there are some companies that have used electric bikes when delivering goods in central Oslo, but the scope is still limited. So you don’t usually have to walk several meters one morning, before you come across trucks and vans parked on the sidewalk or in a bike lane on the streets of Oslo.
This was also noted by Arild Hermstad in the Millennium Development Goals.
The police still have a lot to do when it comes to incorrect situations. It is common to see cars parked in bike lanes, and other violations of regulations are not addressed.
Pedal semi trailers
Hermstad joins the idea of building several recharging centers where “pedal-powered trailers,” which he refers to as electric bikes, take over the truckload.
Support should be given to these freight stations where goods can be transported from them in a safer way, but also in a way that is beneficial to the environment, Hermstad believes.
MDG will also provide support schemes for purchasing electric bikes to the business community.
– Hermstad believes that moving goods from trucks to vans would also be an improvement over what it is today.
Saying no to all the trucks downtown, I still think it would be difficult, but in zero-emissions zones any trucks that can drive there can be claimed, he adds.
– In general, one should continue to operate in the way Oslo began, to enhance the safety of soft road users, by prioritizing them first, for example by removing parking spaces in the city centre.
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