Education For The Road

Posted by Viktoria Michaelis on May 12, 2015 in News & Opinion |

There is a petition laid out in several shops and petrol stations around town following a fatal accident on the roadway near here. A young motorcycle rider was killed when his bike crashed into a car at a crossing near the edge of town about a fortnight ago, and a few local people are now demanding that the town, and the municipal authority, build a ring road to replace the four-way crossing. This would be the first ring road in our town, but not the first in the area. Many have been built over the last few years to replace junctions, to ease the flow of traffic, to allow new bridges over railway lines to be accessed. Whether this one is necessary is a matter which could be debated.

It is likely that the young man was speeding. The town sign is a few meters away from the junction and he would have been able to speed up and enjoy the freedom of the road. At least, until the next village. Many, and it may also be the case here, speed up before leaving town, seeing the last few hundred meters as a race track rather than a part of town, rather than an area where they should still hold their speed down. Many car drivers see matters in exactly the same light, accelerating as early as possible, overlooking dangers which might still be lurking before the town boundary is reached.

Photo Source: jbdodaneCreative Commons

The new ring road, if it ever gets the go-ahead, should prevent this. It should force drivers not only to maintain a reasonable speed, but also to look and see what is coming from their left, which dangers are still present. The sad fact is, and two other accidents this week prove this, ring roads are not ideally suited for accident prevention.

Over the weekend another motorcycle rider entered a ring road in Nienburg – one which has been there for many years – cut across the edge of the central reservation, across an island separating the entering and exiting roads, and lost control on the far side of the exit. Speed and possibly alcohol were at play here.

At the second ring road – a new one completed last year – two cars crashed one into another as one entered the ring road area and the second drove through it.

What the petitioners do not appear to appreciate is that it is not necessarily the road which is at fault. The junction here is clear on all sides, there is nothing to block the view of anyone driving. What is missing is education: how to drive on a road properly; how to look for danger; when it is allowed and safe to speed up. Perhaps, rather than spending more money on road developments in an area which really doesn’t need any drastic change, it would be better to improve the education, the most basic education, of those on the road.

  • Viktoria Michaelis.

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