Cities for People Cycling

Design beats enforcement

Design, design, design:

Much as cyclists might like to see bad drivers punished for their distracted driving and their bike-harassing crimes, enforcement isn’t the most effective way to make the streets safer. The best way to stop “accidents” is to design better roads.

Slower cars means safer roads, and while adding speed cameras and reducing speed limits can help, nothing beats a design that stops drivers from speeding in the first place. Also, slower cars mean less injury in the case of a collision, but again, avoiding the collision to begin with is even better.

Most roads are designed for ‘smooth’ traffic flow, which means wide lanes, sweeping corners, and high speeds. And by speed, I mean inappropriate speed, not over the limit speed (although that happens a lot too). What’s an innapropriate speed? It’s a speed at which you are unable to stop in the distance you can see to be clear. Simple enough, rarely observed, largely due to high speed design and lack of emphasis on the fact in road ‘safety’ campaigns.