As part of an effort to make cycling safer for children, Switzerland’s government is planning to change the law to allow children under 12 to cycle on footpaths, according to the newspaper 20 Minutes.
This year, The Federal Roads Office (FEDRO) plans to introduce a package of measures aimed at improving traffic flow and safety. These include improving the safety of young cyclists by letting them ride on footpaths, allowing cyclists to turn right on red lights, removing the ban on cars passing on the right on motorways, and clearer rules on letting emergency vehicles through traffic.
The organisation Pedestrian Mobility Switzerland is concerned by the prospect of pedestrians sharing footpaths with children on bikes. It fears parents on bikes might join their children, increasing the risks further.
In 2018, 877 cyclists were seriously injured on Swiss roads, more than those seriously hurt in cars (797). When e-bikes were included the number of seriously injured cyclists climbed to 1,186.
In 2018, car accidents killed more people (79) than bicycle accidents (37). However, cycling was more deadly on a per-kilometre-travelled basis. In 2017, Switzerland’s Federal Statistical Office calculated that cyclists (e-bike and regular) were 11.3 times more likely to die from an accident than occupants of cars on a per-kilometre basis.
The challenges of accommodating cars, cyclists and pedestrians are likely to increase. FEDRO predicts the number of cyclists in Switzerland will grow by 32% by 2040 along with an 18% rise in car traffic.
Whatever happens it is probably safe to expect that nearly everyone will be unhappy at some point whether they’re walking, cycling, driving or partaking in some mixture of all three.
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