Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Sweden Is Moving Beyond Vision Zero and Helmets

I’ve never liked the concept of Vision Zero. This program, started in Sweden twenty years ago with the goal of preventing all deaths in traffic, seemed to me to set the stage for heavy handed safety initiatives. I could just hear the shouts justifying unjust laws, “If it saves one life, it will be worth it!” This is a common justification for mandatory helmet laws. And Vision Zero seems to create a perfect footing for it.

So you can imagine how impressed I was when I read about a new initiative coming from Sweden that not only recognizes such concerns about Vision Zero, but offers a far more effective approach, including steering away from mandating bicycle helmets. Here is the summary of their key points:

According to the Swedish Traffic Safety Council for Active and Sustainable Mobility the main tenet of Moving Beyond Zero is that the active element of cycling should be included within the road safety/public health discourse. This has these key elements:

  1. The socioeconomic models that dictate our infrastructure investments must begin to take into account illness prevention and increased life quality provided by active mobility.
  2. The Transport Agency must be tasked with increasing active mobility. It is unacceptable that the Swedish Vision Zero national plan for cycling begins and ends with helmet promotion and lacks national cycling goals. Cycling is currently not mentioned in the Transport Authority’s mission statement nor in the national transport plan.
  3. Sweden needs a Vision Zero that saves, improves, and lengthens lives. Modern environmentally sound and healthy transport planning has to create a vision for a more active and healthier population.
  4. The Council calls on the Swedish Minister for Infrastructure Tomas Eneroth to develop a new goal for traffic and health that looks beyond Vision Zero. A new goal should lead to traffic that saves lives and improves quality of life in addition to reducing traffic fatalities and injuries by promoting active mobility in the form of cycling and walking.

Read the rest of the article here: Moving Beyond Zero.


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