September 22, 2014
The federal administration has kickstarted an initiative aimed at helping reduce the steadily increasing rates of bicycle and pedestrian accident fatalities. Since 2009, those rates have been increasing at rates that are much higher than for motor vehicle accident fatalities.
The new safety initiative was announced earlier this year by Transportation Secretary Antony Fox. He made the announcement at the annual “Pro-Walk, Pro-Bike, Pro-Place” conference, which consisted of participants including transportation engineers, bicycle and pedestrian safety advocates, and city planners. According to the Department of Transportation, the campaign will run over 18 months, and will include road safety assessments across the country.
These assessments will specifically focus on walking and biking paths in every state, and resources will be developed to help build more numbers of safe streets. The campaign will also promote better walking and biking lane design, more behavioral safety, and better education and training initiatives that will help people walk and bike safety. It will also focus on the promotion of car crash avoidance technologies that are specifically designed to help protect bicyclists in pedestrian and accidents. For instance, a number of new crash avoidance technologies are aimed at helping reduce the risk of serious injuries to pedestrians during an accident.
Road design is another major factor that will be included as part of the assessment. For instance, studies have indicated to California bicycle accident attorneys that reducing traffic volumes and making more space for bicyclists and pedestrians can actually help reduce the risk of fatal accidents by as much as 29%. In fact, statistics show that when such design improvements were made in rural highways, there was a 50% drop in accidents. The initiative will specifically focus on making such improvements.
It is high time bicycle safety received the same kind of priority that auto and trucking safety does in this country, and this campaign seems to be a step in that direction.