Group of cyclists 521.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Sufficient safety measures still do not exist for cyclists that take to
intercity highways on weekend mornings – an ever-increasing and dangerous
phenomenon – the National Road Safety Authority said, in a recently released
As the use of bicycles has increased throughout Israel, one of
the largest groups of riders has become the sport-riding clubs that take to
suburban and intercity roads on weekends, the authority explained.
the dangers involved with such cycling, the authority commissioned a survey that
examined cycling patterns on these roads during November 2011, on Saturdays,
between 6 and 11 a.m., conducted by the Ran Naor Center at the Technion, and the
Geocartography Geocartography Knowledge Group.
Although the number of
cyclists injured in accidents on nonurban roads is low compared to the total
number of causalities on these roads – 3 percent of all deaths and 1% of all
injuries – the severity of biking accidents on nonurban roads is much higher
than those on municipal streets, the authority stressed.
dangers of this type of cycling, it continues to increase and has jolted the
National Road Safety Authority to seek safety solutions.
All in all, the
survey looked at 36 intersections throughout the country – 16 in the North, 10
in the Center and Jerusalem and 10 in the South – and measured the number of
bikes passing through, as well as more detailed information about a select
sample of riders.
The researchers considered traffic volume to be high on
a stretch of open road when there were more than 20 riders in an hour, or 100 in
five hours, and at an intersection if there were over 30 in one hour, or 150 in
The busiest cycling intersections were Hagvura Junction on
Road 3 (987 riders in five hours), Shimshon Junction on Road 38 (723 riders),
Kfar Menachem Junction on Road 3 (373 riders), Azeka Junction on Road 38 (353
riders) and Elikim Junction on Road 70 (308 riders) – the Center showing the
largest percentage of high volume cycling, according to the report.
again ending up with the highest volume of riders in the country’s center,
observers found Road 44 from Shimshon Junction to HaGvura Junction to be the
most populated (638 riders in five hours), followed by Road 38 from Tzora
Junction to Shimshon Junction (629 riders) and Road 3 from Sorek Interchange to
Nachshon Junction (559 riders).
In 2012, 39 motorcyclists were killed in
traffic accidents, 13 in urban areas and 26 between cities. Of the 39 deaths, 27
died in accidents with other vehicles and 12 in isolated incidents. In 2011, 48
motorcyclists died in traffic accidents.
In the more detailed observation
of select cyclists, the researchers studied the behavior of 1,541 people, the
survey explained. On roads all over the country, most of the riders (55% to 69%)
were traveling alone, and those riding together were typically in small groups
of between two and five. In the North, 77% of riders stayed on the shoulder of
the road, while in the Center and Jerusalem region, only 30% rode there and in
the South, only 36%, the report said.
In all regions, only about 15% to
17% of cycling groups were accompanied by vehicles.
As far as riding
equipment goes, in all regions most cyclists riding alone wore helmets (93-96%)
and cycling apparel (87-92%), as did those in groups (96-99% and 94- 95%
respectively). Solitary riders were 93-96% male, and groups were 73-80% all male
and 20-26% mixed gender, according to the report. Meanwhile, the majority of
people riding alone and in groups were over 30 years old.
Looking at all
of the findings, the survey’s authors stressed that such detailed information
will be critical “in planning riding areas, implementing changes to traffic
regulations regarding riding on roads, planning advocacy activities and planning
intervention activities for cycling safety.”