How to decrease right-turn accidents

| October 23, 2015

The Danish Road Directorate recently initiated two measures to decrease the number of right-turn accidents. The first is by funding the establishment of bike boxes in Danish municipalities, and the second is through TV campaigns.


A bike box, where cyclists are waiting in front of vehicles.

The importance of continuous work

Although the number of right-turn accidents has decreased, when they do occur, the accidents are likely come with serious injuries or in worst case fatalities. In the last 10 years, approx. 15 – 20 % of cycling causalities has been right-turn accidents. According to Marianne Foldberg Steffensen from the Danish Road Directorate, to avoid these accidents it is important to maintain focus on right-turn accidents.

In the last 10 years, 50 cyclists have lost their lives in a right-turn accident with a truck. In a survey by the Danish Road Safety Council, around 5% of what makes cyclists most insecure in traffic is right-turning trucks. Therefore, it is essential that the cyclists take extra precautions. According to analyses conducted by the Danish Road Directorate, however, only in very few of the accidents, the cyclists are to blame. Often accidents happen because of insufficient orientation from truck drivers.

We encourage ALL cyclists to be very cautious, and we are working hard to propagate knowledge about the dangerous situations. But when you read various analyses of the accidents, we can conclude, that very rarely it is the cyclists who make the mistakes. Therefore, we mostly collaborate with the truck drivers and the authorities in solving the problems. We cannot do this alone,.“ says Klaus Bondam, CEO of the Danish Cyclists’ Federation.

Bike boxes

Funded by the Danish Road Directorate, Danish municipalities can apply for grants to build bike boxes for cyclists to be more visible in front of vehicles when waiting at traffic lights. A bike box is a painted square in front of vehicles waiting to cross traffic lights. It increases the safety of cyclists as they become much more visible to larger vehicles.

The Danish Road Directorate’s total funding to the project amounts to 3.000.000 DKK. (approx. 400.000 €) and they are willing to fund up to 30.000 (approx. 4000 €) per bike boxes. “The bike boxes are a long-anticipated initiative. I hope it can help the municipalities in the battle to prevent the fatal right-turn accidents, which scare many cyclists. Every single accident is one too many,” says Klaus Bondam.

Campaigning for more safety

Another means to decrease the number of right turn-accidents is campaigns and television advertising like this video:

The video shows how both drivers and cyclists can take precautions to ensure that accidents are avoided. Furthermore, the Danish Road Directorate lists the following pieces of advice to cyclists:

  • Keep an eye on trucks about to turn right when you approach a cross light
  • Go forward only when you have made sure the truck is holding back
  • If you are unsure whether the truck will stop, stop and wait until the truck has turned.
  • The blind spot is in the area around the front wheel. Keep a distance to the front wheel to avoid being in the blind spot.
  • Do not ride to fast when you approach and pass through a cross-light
  • Concentrate when riding in traffic – do not use cellphone and do not listen to music etc. when you bike

The deadline for applying for funds for bike boxes is on the 30. october.

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Category: Campaigns, Policy, Safety

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