Accident risk of parking for pedestrians and cyclists

© UDV

On average, drivers in Germany undertake a total of over 100 million journeys a day by car (MID 2017). Accidents involving other road users can occur both during the parking manoeuvre and when the occupants of the vehicle get in or out. In addition, there are other accidents in which the connection to parked vehicles can be considered to be indirect. The UDV (German Insurers Accident Research) carried out a comprehensive research project to investigate in depth the accidents that occur in connection with parking and developed recommendations on how to avoid these accidents. The focus of the project was on accidents involving pedestrians and cyclists. In the project, 46 German cities were surveyed, more than 27,000 accidents were evaluated and local inspections, behavioural observations and surveys of road users were carried out.

As the study shows, the influence of parking on the incidence of accidents is significantly greater than would appear from an analysis based purely on accident type 5 (accidents involving stationary or parked/parking vehicles). A detailed analysis of the descriptions of a large sample of pedestrian and cycling accidents involving injury in built-up areas indicated that almost one in five of these accidents was connected to parking.

The biggest problems were dooring accidents involving cyclists and accidents where parked vehicles obstructed the view. More than half of the parking accidents identified were indirectly connected to parking, mostly due to parked vehicles that restricted the view of the road users. Most affected by this were pedestrians emerging from between parked vehicles to cross a road some distance away from any intersections and cyclists cycling straight ahead at intersections and entrances to properties. Illegal parking was a particular problem for cyclists. The majority of pedestrians, on the other hand, were affected by legally parked vehicles. However, infrastructural deficits, such as the absence of a safety strip next to parked vehicles, can also make accidents more likely.

Based on the results of the research project, the UDV recommends the following measures to prevent pedestrian and cycling accidents connected to parking:

  • In cases where cyclists are required to use the road (either in a cycle lane or in mixed traffic with other vehicles), a safety strip should always be marked next to parked vehicles.

  • There should also be sufficient buffer space provided between the parking spaces and the sidewalk.

  • On roads with a speed limit of 50 km/h or more, parking at the side of the road should not be allowed for 20 metres before and 15 metres after an intersection, T-intersection or any other crossing point for pedestrians or cyclists. On roads with a lower speed limit, parking should not be allowed for 10 metres before and 5 metres after.

  • If a municipality decides that parking is to be permitted close to an intersection or crossing point, the lines of sight should be kept free by structural measures (kerbs, bollards, etc.), and the sidewalk should be extended to the edge of the road and possibly protrude into it.

  • Any parking at entrances to properties should not prevent drivers who are turning off the road into the entrance or into the road from the entrance from having an adequate view of pedestrians and cyclists in the space at the side of the road or on the road.