Vyjadřujeme podporu obyvatelům Srbska v jejich odporu proti návrhu tamnějšího ministerstva vnitra, jehož cílem je zavést povinnost nosit reflexní vestu při jízdě na kole za snížené viditelnosti. Tento návrh je zcela auto-centrický a jde proti snaze učinit z evropských měst příjemná místa pro život, která nebudou podrobena nadvládě motorových vozidel. A proč nás to vlastně zajímá? Je potřeba držet pohromadě a nemyslet si, že se nás to netýká. Týká se nás to. Na českém Ministerstvu dopravy jsou lidé, kteří mají podobný návrh připravený i pro nás. Níže společný dopis adresovaný srbskému ministerstvu vnitra:
Minister of Interior
Ministry of Interior of the Republic of Serbia
Belgrade, Blvd. Mihajla Pupina 2
Bratislava, Brno & Prague, 3 February 2015
Driver vs. Subhuman Cyclist: Introducing Mandatory Reflective Vests for Cyclists in Serbia
(Re: Nacrt zakona o izmenama i dopunama Zakona o bezbednosti saobraćaja na putevima)
Traffic jams, polluted air and ever-present cars are troublesome for all major European cities, including Belgrade and Novi Sad. The bicycle, invented in the 19th century, is reappearing as a simple, effective and available solution. Entire cities and countries are heavily supporting bicycle transport for urban areas. Nevertheless, every now and then a dinosaur of traffic planning proposes a countermeasure against bicycles which makes sense only from a perspective behind the steering wheel of a car. The latest countermeasure against sustainable urban mobility is a call for mandatory reflective vests for cyclists in Serbia.
The idea looks innocent: „Let’s promote the safety of cyclists during reduced visibility.“ To achieve this, every person riding a bicycle (and small motorcycles) should wear a high-visibility jacket from dusk till dawn. Despite the benevolence of the idea, there are several drawbacks.
- The visibility of cyclists is already prescribed by Serbian law, which requires cyclists to use a white front light and red rear light. Today’s high performance LED lights ensure extreme visibility even during daylight hours and long battery lives. If the visibility of cyclists is of true concern, it is a question of education and promoting responsible behaviour among cyclists while enforcing current law. If the police and Ministry of the Interior are not able to enforce current law, then there is no point in introducing a new one.
- There is no credible evidence that so called „protective tools” like reflective vest or helmet imposed on cyclists by law improve the safety of cyclists. On the other hand it was demonstrated that such a measures may reduce a number of cyclists. We encourage to rather focus on the proven solutions like reflective stripes on tubes or spike reflectors.
- The proposal viciously misplaces responsibility for risk not on drivers but on cyclists. Instead of regulating the source of the threat, the speeding car, the victim of the threat is targeted as responsible for safety. Cyclists should wear high-visibility jackets in order to preserve cars‘ dominance over cities, streets and people. The proposal contains the assumption that cities are for people in cars, and if someone wishes to cycle during reduced visibility, he or she should have a special costume. If such a proposal was implemented, sooner or later it would be extended to pedestrians, too. But cities are for people, not motor vehicles.
- Last and not least, the proposal conceals the most lethal threat to safety. Each year, 700 to 800 people are killed by motor vehicles in Serbia, a number just slightly higher than in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Measures taken to preserve lives should focus on the source of the threat, the motor vehicle, not its victims. The problem of visibility is problem of the driver whose vision is reduced. Effective promotion of safety in cities should focus on speed limits for motor vehicles and building infrastructure separating motor traffic from pedestrians and cyclists.
The proposal for mandatory high-visibility vests for cyclists could have been accepted 50 years ago. Today’s world and traffic planning have moved on significantly from this motor-vehicle-centric perspective and understand traffic as a problem of sustainable urban mobility which requires regulation of the car epidemic and promotion of pedestrian, bicycle and public transportation. We therefore firmly discourage the implementation of the proposal and recommend abandoning the car-centric perspective on urban mobility and instead focusing on the true needs of the Serbian people.
Best wishes from the Czech Republic and Slovakia
Slovak National Cycling Officer
Director of Association of Cities for Cyclists
European Cyclists’ Federation Vice President
Environmental Partnership Representative
Cycling Coalition NGO Representative
Auto*Mat NGO Representative
Brno on Bike NGO Representative
Contact person: Michal Sindelar, firstname.lastname@example.org, tel. +420733286101