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SECTION II Introduction Bicycling has been a form of human transportation for hundreds of years and remains a healthy and enjoyable alternative to today's primarily automobile-centric transportation patterns. Before the invention of the automobile, the League of American Wheelmen led efforts to develop and improve America's roadways, leading to our modern system of roads and highways. Bicycle safety problems have a long history in the United States, dating back to 1896 when a motor vehicle collided with a bicycle on a New York City Street--the first recorded automobile crash. More than a century later, safety continues to be a primary concern for modern bicyclists who are faced with the challenges of traffic congestion, increasing distances between destinations, larger vehicles, and higher vehicle speeds. Bicyclists are recognized as legitimate roadway users. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) bicycle program provides guidance on numerous issues, including examples of statutory language emphasizing that bicyclists are part of the transportation system, and concludes that bicyclists "should be included as a matter of routine" in the planning, design, and operation of transportation facilities (FHWA, 1999). The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) notes that bicycle use is recognized as "a viable transportation mode," and that "All highways, except those where cyclists are legally prohibited, should be designed and constructed under the assumption that they will be used by cyclists" (AASHTO, 1999). With any roadway facility a potential bicycle facility, it is important to understand and accommodate bicyclists. The safety interests of bicyclists are sometimes in conflict with the interests of motorists. This conflict arises primarily from the substantially different characteristics of the two modes of transportation. Although bicycles can be ridden on most types of roads, the design interests of accommodating higher motor vehicle traffic volumes and speeds during peak hour congestion may create conditions that are less safe for bicyclists. This guide includes road treatments, countermeasures, and other options that support a balanced transportation system. Safety concerns can significantly influence a person's decision to bicycle for transportation or recreation. Bicyclists inherently understand that they are vulnerable road users. However, understanding bicyclist safety issues has proven difficult for engineers, planners, and facility designers. Traditionally, safety problems have been identified by analyzing police crash reports, and improvements have been made only after crashes have occurred. Such methods are not sufficient to fully understand and effectively address bicyclist safety concerns; waiting for crashes before responding with countermeasures carries a high price because many bicycle crashes tend to be severe. Recent practitioner experience indicates that multi-faceted approaches are more effective in achieving desired program outcomes, including creating safer walking environments (Zegeer et al., 2004), meeting public health goals (Schieber and Vegega, 2002), and increasing walking and bicycling to school (Raborn and Toole, 2006; FHWA, 2006). Although similar research has not yet been applied to bicycling-specific outcomes, it logically follows that what works for safe walking and increasing physical activity will also work for creating safer bicycling environments. Many bicycle-related safety problems cannot be solved simply II-1

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SECTION II--INTRODUCTION by addressing one of the "three Es" (i.e., engineering, education, or enforcement) without also addressing the others. Engineers, planners, law enforcement officers, designers, teachers, public officials, and citizens should all play a role in identifying problems and planning and implementing effective countermeasures and programs for improving bicycling safety. Particular attention should be paid to education. Skill levels vary widely within the bicycling community. Novice riders may only feel comfortable on slow-speed, neighborhood streets or off-street paths. Children may be more confident and want to bicycle to explore their environment, but may also lack the skills and experience to ride safely under varying conditions. Effective and sustained education programs, often neglected by transportation agencies that focus on engineering solutions, can significantly improve safe riding behavior for all bicyclists. Bicycle safety issues should be addressed using proactive measures. Many of the solutions that work for proactive pedestrian safety activities should also work for bicyclists. For example, planners can host interactive public workshops, survey bicyclists and other roadway or facility users, and talk with police and traffic engineers to identify safety issues in an area before crashes occur (Zegeer et al., 2004). Bicyclist safety, both actual and perceived, and the provision of appropriate infrastructure, will influence how many people will ride, as well as the number and types of bicyclist crashes that will occur. Finally, in making any decisions about program or countermeasure implementation, the special characteristics and needs of the targeted population should be considered. This is especially true with respect to education or enforcement interventions, but even road signs and pavement markings can be affected. People of different cultures and ethnic backgrounds, non-English speaking populations, those with physical impairments, and even children and the elderly may necessitate modifications to the countermeasures to ensure that improvements reach their intended audience and have the desired safety benefits. Bicycling has received increased attention in recent years as a mode of transportation that should be encouraged for a variety of reasons. On April 22, 1994, the U.S. Department of Transportation presented its National Bicycling and Walking Study (NBWS) to the U.S. Congress, 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). II-2