1a. Blind zijn voor kleurenblindheid
Veel in het verkeer is geregeld door het gebruik van rood, of van het verschil tussen rood en groen.
Daarbij wordt nooit gedacht aan kleurenblinden. Die zien dat verschil niet – als het meezit zien
ze beide kleuren als gelig, maar doorgaans is groen gewoon grijs en iets roods is vaak te donker. Dat
dit niet opvallend leidt tot ongevallen hebben we te danken aan het goede gedrag van de lui die deze
handicap hebben. Maar vaak, te vaak, is het toch bar lastig of gewoon eng voor ze.
Onbelangrijk? Voor die paar kleurenblinden moeite doen? Pardon, het zijn er vele, vele honderd-
duizenden. Veel meer dus dan rolstoelgebruikers. Hier komen we op terug...
1b. A bicyclist is not a car driver
When the weather is bad, drivers start to crouch behind the wheel and lose what little thought for
bicyclists they had. They focus more than ever on the behaviour of other drivers. Mind you, this
while they’re comfortably settled in their nice and warm burrow of a cabin, and cyclists have
to cope with wind and rain or snow. Confining bicycle traffic to separate lanes is often considered
to be the solution, but under circumstances it can make things worse.
This happens when at a certain point the bicycle lane merges with the rest of the road, e.g. at the
boundaries of a built-up area. Here the drivers are suddenly in an environment where they may be
confronted with bikes, something they aren’t prepared for by the previous situation. In general,
separating cyclists in some situations may be detrimental to their ‘social weight’ in others.
Related to this problem is the fact that cyclists may have a fundamentally different view of their
surroundings, different from a drivers view, that is. The visual consciousness involved, the
cyclists’ model tableau as constructed by their mental/neural setup, is based on a different
logic and semantics – their perceptual priorities are not the same. More like a person on foot,
cyclists in their experience are freely moving subjects. Car drivers are sitting in a box, looking
through a window at the outside world as it passes by. It is the box that moves, taking the driver
Modern research indeed suggests that moving by your own physical means involves neural pro-
cesses that are totally different from those of an animal that is passively transported:
– Self-Motion and the Hippocampal Spatial Metric, Alejandro Terrazas e.a. 2005
– Passive Transport Disrupts Grid Signals in the Parahippocampal Cortex, Shawn S. Winter e.a. 2015
– Speed cells in the medial entorhinal cortex, Emilio Kropff e.a. 2015
A long time ago, in the eighties of the last century, IWACC (now part of Verkeer-Zien) already anti-
cipated this circumstance. A real remedy, we proposed, would be to enhance the role and position of
bicycles in the traffic arena, e.g. by changing regulations and the lay-out of the road system – without
undue emphasis on separation (outside of motorways). Actually, at the time, this view was favourably
received by the Dutch Institute for Road Safety Research SWOV. For a while, that is. Nowadays we
don’t hear about it any more. It seems the time has come to reconsider this approach, in a world
where the sustainability of the kingdom of the car is losing credibility.