Program of Improvements

While some bicycle crashes are associated with deficient roadway designs, bicyclists and motorists often contribute to crashes through a disregard or lack of understanding of laws and safe driving or riding behavior.9 Because most crashes are a result of human error, crashes will not be completely eliminated as long as bicyclists and motor vehicles share the same space. The consequences of these crashes are exacerbated by speeding, failing to yield, or failing to check both directions for traffic, so new education, enforcement, and engineering tools are needed to manage the conflicts between bicyclists and drivers.

A complete program of bicyclist safety improvements includes:

Roadway improvements can often reduce the likelihood of a bicycle-motor vehicle crash. Physical improvements are most effective when tailored to an individual location and traffic problem. Factors to consider when choosing an improvement include: location characteristics, bicycle and motor vehicle volume and types, motor vehicle speed, design of a given location, city laws and ordinances, and financial constraints. Many of these factors are included for consideration in the BIKESAFE Selection Tool.

It is important to remember that overuse or unjustified use of any traffic control measure is not recommended, since this may breed disrespect for such devices. While facilities and shared roadway accommodations for bicyclists can, in many cases, reduce the risk of collisions, crash reduction is not the only reason for providing such accommodations. Other benefits include improved access to destinations by riding, better air quality due to less dependence on driving, and improved personal health. Traffic and transportation engineers have the responsibility for providing facilities for all modes of travel, including bicycling (and walking).

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