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SECTION I--SUMMARY which, in addition to documenting the state of bicycling and walking in the United States, contained two overall goals (USDOT, 1994b): · Double the number of total trips made by bicycling and walking in the United States from 7.9 percent to 15.8 percent of all travel trips. · Simultaneously reduce by 10 percent the number of bicyclists and pedestrians killed or injured in traffic crashes. Congress adopted the Study's goals, effectively creating a directive to Federal transportation agencies to implement the Study's Nine-Point Federal Action Plan with 60 specific action items for the Office of the Secretary, Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), and Federal Transit Administration (FTA); and a Five-Point State and Local Action Plan with a range of suggested activities for state and local agencies. In addition, Congress has vastly increased Federal funds available for bicycle-related projects with the adoption of ISTEA in 1991, TEA-21 in 1998, and SAFETEA-LU in 2005. Federal transportation spending on bicycling and walking increased from $6 million in 1990 to more than $422 million in 2003 (Raborn, 2004). Progress has been made on the two NBWS goals. The goal of reducing injuries and fatalities by 10 percent has been surpassed. The number of bicyclist and pedestrian fatalities decreased by 18 percent from 1993 to 2003; bicyclist fatalities dropped by 23.3 percent. The number of bicyclists injured in collisions with motor vehicles decreased by 35.3 percent over the same time period (Raborn, 2004), but these decreases may reflect a downward trend in overall bicycling as much as they indicate safety improvements. Since 2003, however, these trends have reversed: as of 2005, the decrease in bicyclist fatalities from 1993 had decreased to less than 4 percent. So, progress has been made on reducing bicyclist injuries and fatalities, but that progress appears now to be eroding. The NBWS goal of doubling the percentage of walking and bicycling trips has not been accomplished, although the number of trips increased and perhaps doubled. In 1990, there were an estimated 1.7 billion bicycling trips; in 2001, that number had almost doubled to 3.3 billion. Combined walking and bicycling trip numbers increased from 19.7 billion to 38.6 billion. The percentage of bicycle trips, however, increased a mere one-tenth of a percent (from 0.7 percent to 0.8 percent), while combined trips increased from 7.9 percent to 9.5 percent. The disparity between the large increase in trip numbers and the small increase in trip percentages can be explained by the explosive growth in total reported trips of all modes; from 249 billion in 1990 to 407 billion in 2001 (Raborn, 2004). With current Federal policies and guidance and the resources now available to improve conditions for bicycling, any agency charged with construction, operation, and maintenance of transportation infrastructure must devote attention to accommodating safe bicycling activity. The trends show that progress is indeed being made to meet the national walking and bicycling goals, but opportunities remain to improve facilities and programs for bicyclists. General Description of the Problem Since the nationwide peak of 1,003 bicyclist fatalities reported in 1975 in the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS), traffic-related bicyclist fatalities and injuries have trended downward. Over the past 10 years, the number of fatalities has generally trended downward, I-2
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SECTION I--SUMMARY EXHIBIT I-1 Bicyclist fatalities from 19952005 (NHTSA, NCSA, Traffic Safety Facts 2004 Data: Pedalcyclists, from FARS data) 900 800 700 600 500 400 300 200 100 0 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 although the most recent 2 years have shown a clear increase (see Exhibit I-1). The NHTSA National Center for Statistics and Analysis (NCSA) reports that fatalities have been from 2 to 25 percent below the number killed in 1995 (830 bicyclists) for 8 of the 10 years, even while all motor vehicle crash fatalities have shown increases since 1995. In 2005, 784 bicyclists (5.5 per- cent below the 1995 level) were killed in collisions with motor vehicles, an increase of 8 percent from 2004 and nearly 27 percent from the 10-year low of 622 bicyclist fatalities recorded in 2003. The 2005 number represented about 2 percent of those killed in all motor vehicle crashes for the year, a proportion that has remained relatively constant in recent years. A total of 45,000 bicyclists were estimated injured nationwide in crashes with motor vehicles in 2005, which represents an increase in both the number of bicyclists injured and the proportion of all traffic injuries (2 percent) from 2004 (NHTSA, NCSA, from General Estimates System [GES], Exhibit I-2). Reported injuries do not include crashes not reported to the police, even if the bicyclist may have been injured, but this figure likely captures most serious roadway crashes involving motor vehicles. While the number of bicyclist injuries and fatalities fluctuates from year to year, potentially reflecting economic conditions, variations in weather, riding exposure and other trends, as well as chance variation, the general downward trends have been good news. The recent increases in fatalities over the past 2 years, however, dramatically reinforce the need for adoption of strategies to reduce collisions involving bicyclists. EXHIBIT I-2 Bicyclist injuries from 1995 to 2005 (NHTSA, NCSA, 19952004; data from GES estimates) 70,000 60,000 50,000 40,000 30,000 20,000 10,000 0 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 I-3
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SECTION I--SUMMARY Crashes involving bicycles and motor vehicles are complex phenomena, and classifying the different events into mutually exclusive categories is a formidable task. Cross and Fisher (1977) were the first researchers to develop and apply crash `typology' for bicycle crashes as part of a NHTSA response to the 1,003 bicyclist fatalities in 1975. NHTSA also developed a coder's handbook for typing bicyclist crashes to address this issue (NHTSA, n.d.). Similar typology was used in the FHWA study by Hunter et al. (1996). In a six-state study of 3,000 bicycle crashes taken from hard copy police reports, the most frequent bicycle/motor vehicle crash types were as follows: Crossing Path Crashes % of All Crashes · Motorist failed to yield to bicyclist (includes drive out/through 21.7 at intersections and at Midblock/driveway locations) · Bicyclist failed to yield to motorist at an intersection 16.8 · Bicyclist failed to yield to motorist, midblock 11.8 · Other crossing path crashes 7.2 57.5 Parallel Path Crashes · Motorist turned or merged into bicyclist's path 12.2 · Motorist overtaking bicyclist 8.6 · Bicyclist turned or merged into motorist's path 7.3 · Other parallel path crashes 7.4 35.5 Specific Circumstances Crashes (such as off-roadway, backing vehicle, intentional, and other unusual 7.0 crash types). Crash type proportions varied by state, however, likely reflecting differences in urbanization and other characteristics. The types of crashes that were most severe were parallel path, rather than crossing path, crashes. Crossing path crashes occur at junctions (intersections or driveways) and more often in urbanized areas where speeds are often slower. Crash type severity was measured by the percentage of bicyclists involved in each type of crash that were seriously injured or killed, as shown below: Crossing paths · bicyclist turning error (23.8 percent) · bicyclist failed to yield, midblock (22.1 percent) · bicyclist failed to yield, intersection (20.1 percent) Parallel paths · operator loss of control (34.6 percent) · wrong-way operator (most often the bicyclist) (32.1 percent) · motorist overtaking (29.4 percent) · bicyclist turn/merge into the path of a motorist (25.2 percent) Children tend to be over-represented more often in crossing path crashes including ride outs at non-intersection locations (such as driveways) and at intersections and are more likely to fail to clear an intersection or make a turning error. In parallel path crashes, children are more likely to make turn/merge maneuvers in front of motorists; however, adults tend to I-4