Cyclist Protection Plans Revealed
The Traffic Safety Committee of the General Traffic Department (DGT) had a meeting to study the problems facing cyclists and all road users relating to their safe movement. Some of these measures are already being implemented "as a result of the Plan of Urgent Measures" launched by the Ministry of the Interior and the General Directorate of Traffic a few months ago.
It appears that in 2017 there is a rebound in the number of fatalities on the roads.
The new measures include:
Signage of 49 new safe cycling routes, to be added to the 56 existing ones, with the aim of facilitating and protecting the movement of cyclists on conventional roads and reducing their accidents. This signalling will include speed limitations on specific days and times, of a temporary nature and in defined inter-urban stretches.
Communication and awareness campaigns to publicise the regulations for cyclists and, in particular, on their safety.
Use of variable message panels for awareness messages. On Saturdays and Sundays, the most common days of cycling on the road, these panels will remind drivers of the minimum safety distance of 1.5 m, the possibility of crossing the continuous line in overtaking, riding in parallel, etc.
Enhanced use of the Comobity application. This DGT app, which has 51,000 users and 58,000 warnings, informs the users of the presence of cyclists on the route.
A greater presence of the Guardia Civil Traffic patrols on those secondary routes with a greater presence of cyclists during the weekends.
An increase of alcohol and drug controls on Saturdays and Sundays on conventional roads.
Special surveillance plan, with the presence of aerial and terrestrial means for the protection of cyclists.
Improve knowledge of cycling mobility identifying the interurban routes most frequented by cyclists, distinguishing those used for sports that are used for forced mobility and integrating them into mobility maps.
Repeat Alcohol and Drug Offender Will Lose their Licence
Another measure announced by the Minister of the Interior was that drivers who repeatedly drink or use drugs and drive will lose the validity of their licence due to lack of psychophysical skills. Repeat offenders mean those drivers who have two or more alcohol and/or drug sanctions within a period of less than two years.
Extra Measures to Crack Down on Habitual Offenders
The Director General of the DGT, Gregorio Serrano, has announced an urgent review to clamp down on habitual drink and drug drivers. This announcement came just before a third cyclist died in hospital from injuries sustained when a drunk and drugged driver ploughed into a group of cyclists, killing two at the scene and rendering three more hospitalised with serious injuries.
The driver had her licence withdrawn four years ago after testing positive for blood alcohol and failed to take the mandatory course required to revalidate the licence. Immediately prior to this incident, the driver managed to avoid three alcohol checkpoints.
N332 Goes Back to School
Members of N332 visited the Phoenix International School in San Miguel de Salinas to give a road safety presentation to the students attending the school.
The team gave three presentations to three groups, with the younger pupils covering everything from the basics of crossing the road safely, wearing a seatbelt, riding a bike safely and having fun with new road safety campaigns, such as how to discourage grownups from using a mobile phone whilst driving. The older attendees were given more in-depth information about the laws relating to traffic and safety, including scooters, riding bikes and their obligations under the law.
Callous Roadside Robbers Locked Up
Officers from the Guardia Civil arrested a group of robbers preying on innocent tourists along the A-7 motorway as it passes through Valencia, Castellón and Alicante. Eight people were arrested and two others are under investigation; all aged between 25 and 32 and of Romanian nationality. Large amounts of money, high-end vehicles, watches, jewellery and mobile phones were seized.
Using their high-powered vehicles, the gang specialised in taking items from the interior of vehicles in easily accessible car parks where they would pick mostly elderly people and vehicles with foreign registration that were passing through. One of the members would distract the victims by asking them for a place or an address while another member of the gang would open the door of the vehicle and remove the objects they had spotted inside.
Smart Roundabouts Coming Soon?
Although roundabouts may be the cause of confusion and dread to some drivers, they provide a unique way of allowing traffic to flow freely thorough road intersections. However, when the volume of traffic is too high for the layout of the road, congestion results in delays, which can end up with massive traffic jams.
Researchers from the UPV (Universidad Politécnica de Valencia) have come up with what they think is a revolutionary system to ease that congestion, by implanting sensors in the road that detect the passage of vehicles and determine when the volume of traffic is very high, which would then cause traffic lights to be activated to slow down vehicles on approach, allowing extra time for those in the area to manoeuvre through the roundabout, and, in some cases, stopping traffic on quieter roads to allow the congestion to ease.
The idea is to avoid situations in which the excessive entry of vehicles causes a general jam that prevents progress in any direction. With this system, it is possible to restore a normal traffic flow in a short time, managing the exceptional situations in a simple but effective way.
The system used, known as ramp meter, is already used successfully in some countries on access routes to motorways and main roads, restricting access when traffic on the main carriageway is too dense. Now, the system can be adapted and customised to the needs of roundabouts.
Barcelona Bans Older Cars
Barcelona has agreed to ban cars which are over 20 years old from driving on the road on working days in 40 municipalities. The move is aimed at reducing pollution, as part of the government's strategy to reduced emissions by 30% within 15 years and by 10% in the next 5 years. The restrictions will not come into force until 2019. Between now and then, plans will be made for the implementation of the scheme, including an awareness campaign and strengthening public transport links in areas which may be considered deficient. The first stage of the plan will be presented before July.