A sign of things to come?
Intersections are dangerous places for motorcycles. If you haven’t picked up this fact from your local MSF instructor, fellow riders, or trusty publications (wink), you may have learned it the hard way—first-hand experience. To help mitigate accidents at intersections, Auckland, New Zealand is instituting a four-stage road safety plan aimed at reducing motorcycling deaths and serious injuries. The Vision Zero strategy will include painted road markers, flashing smart studs, electronic signs, and video analysis to improve the safety of Auckland’s intersections.
As the road with the highest risk for motorcycle crashes, New Zealand’s largest city designated Dominion Road to trial the safety improvements. Between 2014 and 2018, motorcycle accidents accounted for 29 deaths and 515 serious injuries on Auckland roadways (excluding highways). Both poor observation and failing to give way were factors in many of the incidents and the city’s transportation council hopes to remedy the situation by improving visibility and awareness at intersections.
Urban Kiwi thoroughfares like Dominion Road pose a danger to motorcyclists riding in the bus lane. With parked cars separating automobile traffic from buses and motorcycles moving in the opposite direction, sightlines alone aren’t sufficient for safety. For that reason, Auckland Transport plans to use a combination of road markings and smart signs to help alert riders and drivers of imminent danger.
Earlier this year, Auckland Transport began its four-stage strategy by painting yellow road markings (‘keep clear’ or hatched) at the intersections of Dominion Road and 14 side streets. In March, the transportation bureau will enact stage 2 of the plan by comparing current Dominion Road video footage against recordings from November 2019. The team will use the surveillance to analyze whether the road markings improved driver and rider visibility when approaching the intersections.
By April, stage 3 will go into effect when crews install flashing smart studs in the roads and elevated electronic messaging signs roadside. The studs and signs will warn motorcyclists and motorists when the other is pulling up or waiting at the intersection. The final stage will conclude in May with a comprehensive video analysis of the plan’s effectiveness. If the 4-stage strategy improves the safety of Dominion Road and its 14 adjoining side streets, Auckland Transport could roll out the measures to other roadways in the city.
We’re hoping Auckland Transport’s Zero Vision initiative reduces the number of deaths and serious injuries due to accidents and that the plan expands to neighboring communities. Maybe intersections don’t have to be such dangerous places, it may just require some additional signage and awareness.