Bus kills young woman cyclist

Dear Bloggers,

It may be a horrible coincidence but the situation with the Bus Companies around the North of the Netherlands has been a mess for many months now - "an accident waiting to happen" as one of the news sites flashed yesterday - and on Wednesday a 12-year-old girl on her bicycle was crushed by a bus and died of her injuries, her friend also got hit and was rushed to the hospital.

This was the headline on one of the news sites that I follow when I hear or read something about an accident, this one happened on on of the routes that we drive as well. The major roads are crossing here on a T-junction and the surrounding area has no narrowed corners so it is easy to overlook the road in all directions the road is divided at the junction in two single lanes where buses, taxis, cars are all jostling for, at best, snail's pace progress and tempers get frayed. Cyclists and pedestrians have their own lanes but need to cross this busy road. Somehow this crossing is dangerous as during rush hour it is hard to cross the road. And if it is raining you want to get home if you are on a push bike. Question to me still is: “How could they have missed eachother.”  I think over what has happened this really is drives me crazy. She must have taken a huge risk or the driver has been either blind or driving too fast. Whatever will be the outcome of this accident several peoples lives have been destroyed Wednesday.

Our own correspondent the Old Sailor had a discussion with some collegues about cyclists in the city. About how many times it ends up in a near hit and why do people underestimate the risks by just hoping that the motorised driver will hit the brakes. That was only telling us, ironically on Wednesday, what a nightmare cycling youngsters on the streets of Groningen can be, it is a hazardous environment with busses, trucks cars,mopeds and taxis. Knowing the risks and the dangerous corners I rented a push bike and cruised through the heart of Groningen to find out why people overestimate themselves. In this case I have first hand experience from a recent trip through the capital on a push bike.

The police says, "Individual fatalities are very distressing but it is not possible to see any trend with such a small number. Casualty stats never make sense in a single accident (but) is this not a total different issue. Even before (this cyclist) was killed there were complaints from all sides about the safety of cyclist and pedestrians in the city. The media has been very quick to say all the blame should be put on the driver. Accussing him of speeding and he probably overlooked the girls. (It looks like it is the other way around that the girls have missed the bus in this case.

They are “bad” news in my opinion eventhough all the good things they are publishing, but there seems to have been a failure of organisation between the different arms in this horrible drama." As they all want to be the first one with the breaking news whitout checking the facts.

A spokesperson on the local news said, “We were very saddened to hear that a young cyclist died following a collision with an on route bus on this street on 25 April. Our thoughts and sympathies are with her family and friends at this time. We will work with the police and the bus operating company, to fully investigate the incident.

She continued, “Accidents such as this one on Wednesday are rare. In the past four years, three cyclists have been killed following a collision with a bus on Groningen’s roads, despite the fact that around half a million cycle journeys and a million bus journeys are made on these roads every year. Nevertheless, we take every such accident very seriously and work with the bus operating companies to ensure bus drivers are trained in how to share road space with cyclists.”

The spokesperson concludes, "Since 2000, there has been a 21% fall in the number of cyclists killed or seriously injured on our roads, compared to the mid to late 1990s. At the same time, there has been a 107% increase in the number of cycle journeys made on Groningen’s roads in the past decade. The safety of cyclists is a huge priority for both the Mayor and the transport companies and we are committed to making cycling as safe as possible.

Still every incident is one too many who-ever might be guilty in this case there are only losers in this case. Even when it might not the drivers fault he needs to live with the fact that you have killed someone and you have disrupted so many others lives. Live is bitch that is for sure.

The Old Sailor,


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