Many cyclists took part in a “Velocorso” on Sunday to help promote the use of cycling as an environmentally-friendly way of getting around. However, cycling in the canton is not always as safe as it should be.
Indeed, according to an article published in the Sonntagszeitung Sunday newspaper, based on statistics published by the Federal Highways Office relating to the years 2011-2018, in a list of the 20 most dangerous municipalities for cyclists nationwide, the city of Zug came 12th and Baar 20th.
Such information came as a surprise to Victor Zoller, the co-chairman of the Pro-Velo Zug (VPZ) association which promotes cycling. It was mentioned in the article that with towns like Winterthur being attractive to cyclists, more accidents involving them happen there. “And to a certain extent this is the case with Zug, too,” he said, while noting that many people make use of cycles only at times of major events such as the recent National Swiss-Wrestling Tournament of Jazz Nights. He also admitted that many people of Zug feel that cycling is too dangerous, and it was mentioned in the article that poor infrastructure was often the main cause behind the many accidents. However, Zoller could not confirm this was the case in Zug. “The reasons are often difficult to evaluate,” he said.
Zoller went on to list some of the problem areas for cycling, mentioning for example the harbour area in Zug (blind junction), Baarerstrasse (very narrow near municipality border), Poststrasse, (no cycle demarcation line), Neugasse in Zug (very narrow) and Neufeld in Baar (narrow bridge). It is in these areas in particular that Zoller feels there is risk of collision with motorised vehicles. As for risks on paths for cyclists only, he mentioned narrow ones with blind bends and underpasses (Brüggli in Zug and Weststrasse in Baar).
The VPZ has called for improvements at all these places, with Zoller saying how a stop sign at the harbour area had lowered the risk of accident there. He mentioned how he thought remedying the problems was as much a matter for the canton as for the individual municipalities. In particular he called for action to be taken in Neugasse, with appropriate marking as in Hünenberg and Rotkreuz, and hence clear indication, for example, that in congested traffic, cyclists were able to overtake on the right.
When Zug city councillor Urs Raschle was asked about the problem, he, too, said he was surprised by the statistics. Naturally he was not happy with the number of accidents, though he was pleased with the amount of cyclist traffic. He mentioned, too, how the increase in e.bikes on the roads had led to increased number of accidents. “The city needs to look at how it wants to cope with e.bikes,” he said, while concluding overall that the city was basically cycle-friendly and that cycling was for the most part safe.
He mentioned how cyclists in the Neustadt, Vorstadt, Bundesplatz, Kolinplatz needed to take special care with the limited space they had. With the onset of the “Bike To School” campaign, various improvements had been made, but still more needed to be done. What was encouraging was that more would be done to increase cyclist safety with the reconfiguration of Alpenstrasse, and a new mobility concept, with special consideration for slow-moving traffic, was to be presented in two years’ time.
As to the situation in Baar, Zari Dzaferi, who is responsible for safety there, said there were particular risks for cyclists at roundabouts and at junctions of altered priority, mentioning Dorfstrasse at rush hour times in particular. As to the Weststrasse underpass, he mentioned how it was hoped additional lighting and repositioning of barriers would increase safety there. One area which still needed attention was the Neufeld area of Südstrasse.
As to the statistic which said Baar was among the 20 most dangerous municipalities for cyclists in the country, the councillor said that, while there were many cyclists there, not least as the land was very flat, there was much vehicular traffic, too. He mentioned that there had been 172 accidents involving cyclists in eight years (one to two a month) while conceding that one was one too many.
He also mentioned areas where improvements had been made in recent years, such as the Altgasse-Neuhofstrasse underpass, and the increased number of areas where the speed limit had been reduced. Further critical points would be examined in a forthcoming traffic concept with improvements duly made where appropriate.