The speed breakers that were constructed at the Zernike campus are not sufficient to prevent bus drivers from speeding. This is one the results of a preliminary evaluation. Hanze University, University of Groningen and the city, among others, think extra measures are necessary to improve traffic safety at the campus.
On Thursday November 17th, representatives of these and other involved parties discussed the current traffic situation at the Zernike campus in a private meeting/workshop. The bus gates, which are basically just speed breakers, haven’t been as effective as the involved parties had hoped. Their main goal was to prevent bus drivers from speeding on the Zernikelaan, but most drivers don’t slow down at all. A spokeswoman for bus company Qbuzz states that ‘they will keep an eye on bus drivers who don’t obey the rules’. According to Qbuzz speeding shouldn’t be possible anymore, because it would damage busses.
In September a bus hit a 19-year-old student from Kazachstan. The young man didn’t see the bus that was coming from the opposite direction, according to the police report. He has been repatriated back to Kazachstan because of severe head trauma. He is unable to continue studying in the Netherlands. This accident fuelled the discussion about the traffic safety at the Zernike campus and was eventually one of the main reasons the city of Groningen decided to construct the special speed breakers.
The Hanze University made a short video to show the (important) unsafe locations at the Zernike campus. “Within a minute a small accident with a bicycle and a car was shown”, Els Bijlholt, Project Manager from the Estates and Buildings Unit at Hanze explains. “You could see the accident coming and everyone was like ‘ooooh’. It was a real eye-opener for the people who attended the meeting, because most of them didn’t see how dangerous it really is until they saw the video. The police officer responsible for the district was not surprised at all. “This happens all the time”, he said.
According to Mrs. Bijlholt one of the solutions that was suggested is to decrease the general speed limit for all road users at the Zernike campus. Bijlholt also thinks there should be an extra emphasis on bicycle training and learning traffic rules when foreign students get to Groningen. After three months there will be another evaluation to see if the safety situation has improved. It is not clear if there will be any extra measures in the meantime.
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