Unifying Alabama's Traffic Safety Efforts
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Bicycles


More and more people are realizing that bicycles are a great way to get exercise and an efficient way to travel. This also means that more people should be aware of the dangers of riding a bicycle on public roadways. Bicycle riders also should know the applicable laws - what they are and are not legally allowed to do. On this page, you can find bicycle safety statistics as well as the Code of Alabama that refers to bicycle operation on roadways.
USDOT - Pedestrian and Bicycle Exposure to Risk
The USDOT has released a report that describes the methods used to estimate and evaluate exposure risk in pedestrian and bicyclist safety analyses.  One definition of a risk was the measure of the probability of a crash to occur given exposure to potential crash events.

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USDOT - Supporting Safe and Complete Pedestrian and Bicycle Networks
The US Department on Transportation has released a policy guide in hopes of increasing safety for bikes and pedestrians.This policy guidebook provides local and state agencies with the tools to create a solid policy platform to support the creation of multimodal transportation networks for users of all ages and abilities.

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How Bike Helmet Laws Do More Harm Than Good?
Bike-share programs have proved hugely popular in hundreds of cities around the world—but not in Australia. While bikes in the London and New York systems see three to six trips a day each, their unloved peers in Melbourne are lucky to be used once. One study declared Brisbane’s system to be the least popular in the world. Their shortcomings are partly due to flaws in the networks, but there’s another factor at play: helmet laws.

If you use bike shares in London, New York, Paris, or Hangzhou, you can bring a helmet if you want, or just leap on and pedal away. Do that in Melbourne or Brisbane and you risk being fined by police because of compulsory helmet-use laws. Both systems have tried to get around this by leaving complimentary helmets on the bikes—Melbourne leaves 1,000 new ones a month—or selling cheap helmets nearby. But for many people, it’s simply too much trouble.


This is one of the many accidental effects of helmet compulsion. Even in a youthful, vibrant city like Melbourne, a bike-share program is a nonstarter. A small if significant opportunity for creating a human-friendly city is lost.


Proponents of helmet laws usually argue something like: “If a bike helmet law saves just one life, it will be worth it.” But the accidental effects of bike helmet laws can go much further than just undermining bike-share systems—they can also take a toll on public health.

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Do Mandatory Bike-Helmet Laws Reduce Injuries?
When bicyclists are involved in accidents, they are much likelier to suffer from severe brain trauma and head injuries than are motor vehicle occupants.  Some states enforce a mandatory bicycle-helmet laws, however there are some who believe that this discourages would-be bicyclist.

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Strategic Agenda for Pedestrian and Bicycle Transportation
Click Here to Read USDOT Federal Highway Administration's Strategic Agenda that relates to Bicycles!

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Bankhead Tunnel to Open for Bike and Pedestrian Traffic on Trial Basis
ALDOT plans to open the Bankhead Tunnel in downtown Mobile to bicycle and pedestrian traffic on a trial basis beginning Saturday. Low traffic volumes allow the tunnel to be closed to motor vehicles, and drivers must seek alternate routes during the time the tunnel is open to cyclists and pedestrians.

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10th University Transportation Centers Spotlight Conference on Pedestrian & Bicycle Safety
Click Here to go to Our UTCA (UA) Page to View the Conference Details

Traffic Safety Facts 2014 Data: Bicyclists and Other Cyclists
NHTSA: The 726 pedalcyclist deaths in 2014 accounted for 2% of all traffic fatalities during the year.

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Guidebook for Developing Pedestrian & Bicycle Performance Measures

The U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration has published a guide for developing pedestrian and bicycle performance measures.

This guidebook is intended to help communities develop performance measures that can fully integrate pedestrian and bicycle planning in ongoing performance management activities. It highlights a broad range of ways that walking and bicycling investments, activity, and impacts can be measured and documents how these measures relate to goals identified in a community’s planning process. It discusses how the measures can be tracked and what data are required, while also identifying examples of communities that are currently using the respective measures in their planning process. This report highlights resources for developing measures to facilitate high quality performance based planning.

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Delivering Safe, Comfortable and Connected Pedestrian and Bicycle Networks

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) is committed to documenting and promoting connected pedestrian and bicycle networks in communities throughout the U.S. Networks are interconnected pedestrian and/or bicycle transportation facilities that allow people of all ages and abilities to safely and conveniently get where they want to go.

This report provides an overview of pedestrian and bicycle network principles and highlights examples from communities across the country. The Appendix provides a complete listing of projects highlighted in the report and additional projects that were identified in the study process.

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Review of Actions to Improve Safety of Pedestrians and Cyclists

The U.S. Government Accountability Office has released a report that examines trends and characteristics of pedestrian and cyclist fatalities and injuries, related state safety initiatives, and actions taken by the U.S. Department of Transportation to help improve safety.

Pedestrian and cyclist fatalities and injuries represent a growing percentage of all traffic fatalities and injuries. For example, pedestrian fatalities comprised 10.9 percent of all traffic deaths nationwide in 2004, but 14.5 percent in 2013. Cyclists represented 1.7 percent of all United States traffic deaths in 2004, but 2.3 percent in 2013. Estimates of pedestrian and cyclist injuries also grew during this same time frame. In 2013, most traffic crashes that resulted in a pedestrian’s or cyclist’s death involved men, occurred in urban areas, happened in clear weather conditions, and most frequently took place between 6:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. Various factors—working separately or in combination—may have contributed to these fatalities and injuries, including increased walking and cycling trips; alcohol use; distracted road users; or road design practices.

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2013 Traffic Crash Facts - Bicyclists and Other Cyclists

Change isn’t coming — it’s here now. Pedalcyclists, as defined for this fact sheet, are bicyclists and other cyclists including riders of twowheel, nonmotorized vehicles, tricycles, and unicycles powered solely by pedals. A traffic crash is defined as an incident that involved one or more motor vehicles where at least one vehicle was in transport and the crash originated on a public traffic way, such as a road or highway. Crashes that occurred on private property, including parking lots and driveways, are excluded. Pedalcyclist crashes in this fact sheet will not include bicycle wrecks that do not involve motor vehicles.

Overview In 2013, there were 743 pedalcyclists killed and an estimated 48,000 injured in motor vehicle traffic crashes. Pedalcyclist deaths accounted for 2 percent of all motor vehicle traffic fatalities (Table 1) and injured pedalcyclists made up 2 percent of the people injured in traffic crashes during the year.

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ALDOT Developing Statewide Bicycle & Pedestrian Plan
Image Source: WIAT.com

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WIAT) — ALDOT announced on Wednesday that a Statewide Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan is being developed to improve mobility for cyclists and pedestrians.

The goal behind this plan is to incorporate biking and walking into the state of Alabama’s transportation system. “Safety of pedestrians and bicyclists is an important consideration from the time we begin designing a roadway and the adjacent area,” said ALDOT Chief Engineer Ronnie Baldwin. “We are looking at new ways to enhance the day to day safety and overall experience for those out walking and bicycling in Alabama.”

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Image Source: WIAT.com
5 Alabama cyclists killed, 5 injured in collisions with vehicles so far this year

Alabama isn't the deadliest state for cyclists (Florida has that title), but it isn't the friendliest either.. In fact, the League of American Bicyclists lists Alabama as the least friendly state for cyclists. The Yellowhammer State has few people who regularly ride bicycles for transportation and those who do have a higher likelihood of being killed or injured compared to those in other states.

So far, five cyclists were killed in collisions with vehicles this year and at least five were injured, according to the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency and media reports. Six cyclists were killed in collisions for the same time period last year, ALEA said.

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May is National Bike Month

May is National Bike Month, sponsored by the League of American Bicyclists and celebrated in communities from coast to coast. Established in 1956, National Bike Month is a chance to showcase the many benefits of bicycling — and encourage more folks to giving biking a try..

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More than 900,000 bikes affected in North America, says CPSC

Trek is working with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission to recall bikes spec'd with quick releases that have a lever that opens greater than 180 degrees and can be caught in a front disc brake if left in the open position.

The company said that the issue is not a manufacturing defect on the QR but due to improper use or adjustment. Riders who leave the QR in the open position can potentially have the lever caught in the front disc brake while riding.

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Better Crash Reports Could Help Save Cyclists

From 2000 to 2013, the number of people who bike commute shot up an impressive 62 percent. Unfortunately, police crash reports have not kept up with the times, and that lag could be stalling advances that could help bike commuters—and car drivers—avoid dangerous collisions, says a new investigative study published in Injury Prevention.

In the study, researchers from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health analyzed police crash templates from 50 states, including detailed analysis of 300 motor vehicle/bicycle crashes within New York City. Though some states are now using modern electronic templates (as opposed to writing in a notebook), codes for entering the information into spreadsheets are sorely lacking in specifics regarding cyclists.

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Safer Journeys for People who Cycle

This document details the recommendations the Cycling Safety Panel considers will make New Zealand’s roads safer for cyclists. The recommendations are based on a thorough investigation of the nature and causes of cycle crashes in New Zealand. The Panel has consulted widely with interested stakeholders and this final report considers their feedback.

Over the last decade annual cycling deaths in New Zealand have averaged between nine and ten people, with some annual fluctuations, meaning cyclists made up approximately 3 percent of on-road fatalities over that period. This is disproportionate to their participation in the roading network where cycling comprises 1.6 percent of total time travelling. In terms of serious injury crashes the situation is worse with cyclists now representing around 8 percent of on-road crashes resulting in a hospital admission.

Globally cycling is seeing a resurgence of growth in many countries that were previously regarded as ‘cycling unfriendly’. New Zealand is starting to see this trend as well, and the Panel is concerned that without adopting many of the recommendations in this report, we will see increases in cycling deaths and injuries as more people choose to cycle.

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The More Cyclists In A Country, The Fewer Fatal Crashes

Bicyclist deaths in the United States are on the upward trend. Nationally, fatalities among cyclists increased from 621 in 2010 to 722 in 2012. This correlates with an increase in commuting to work by bicycle. Interestingly, however, an OECD report actually suggests that when a country has more cyclists, it tends to have fewer fatalities.

The “safety in numbers” phenomenon is rather simple to grasp – more cyclists means more awareness among motorists. A lone cyclist in a traffic-choked urban area is far more likely to experience an accident and injury. In countries like the Netherlands and Denmark where people cycle an average of 864 and 513 kilometers each year, the number of cyclists killed per billion kilometers of bicycle travel stands at 10.7 and 14.6 respectively.

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Digital Bicycle and Pedestrian Motion Graphics

TSM Logo 2

Digital Bicycle and Pedestrian Motion Graphics

NHTSA’s new digital Bicycle and Pedestrian Motion Graphics rely solely on non-verbal concepts, visual images, and animation to teach people who speak different languages and/or may be hearing impaired, basic bicycle and pedestrian safety concepts. 

The graphics can be downloaded from NHTSA’s Traffic Safety Marketing.gov website at http://www.trafficsafetymarketing.gov/BicycleSafety and http://www.trafficsafetymarketing.gov/PedestrianSafetyand shared on social media sites.

Web Motion Graphics

How FHWA is Making Biking Safer
See how our Federal Highway Administration and its partners collaborate to make biking and walking safer, affordable, more accessible, and an integral part of livable communities across America.
Connected Bicycles Tell Cars: Don't Run Me Over
Last month at the Washington Auto Show, U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said he’s considering a plan to collect data about car accidents involving bicyclists and pedestrians. Nearly 5,000 pedestrians were killed in 2012, the most recent year the data is available—a new high. Tens of thousands more are injured every year.

That's not a bad idea at all. And some car companies are already figuring out how to improve bike safety using the influx of data they already have from car sensors—which, among other things, can essentially "know" when a bike is approaching. READ MORE
DOT Head Challenges Mayors on Bicycle, Walking Safety
As more people opt to walk instead of drive and as bicycling continues to grow in popularity, traffic deaths of pedestrians and bicyclists have been trending upward for several years, at a rate higher than motor vehicle fatalities.

While pedestrian deaths dropped slightly in 2013, bicycle fatalities continued to rise, and bike and pedestrian fatalities combined now account for nearly 17% of all road deaths, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, who became all-too-familiar with the issue as Charlotte's mayor when two young boys were killed by a truck as their father walked them to day care, wants to change that.

Today in Washington, D.C., he will challenge mayors and other elected officials to improve safety for walkers and bicyclists in their cities over the next year. His " Mayor's Challenge" will urge participants at a U.S. Conference of Mayors meeting to attend a special summit in March and then spend a year working to make their cities safer for bikers and walkers. READ MORE
Is "Safe" Road Design Killing Bicyclists and Pedestrians?
In 2012, 4,743 pedestrians and 726 bicyclists were killed in the United States, up 6 percent from the previous year. Rep. Rick Larsen, of Washington, has a sneaking suspicion that road design — specifically designs that make things safer for cars — are a big part of the problem.

To find out for sure, Larsen along with Reps. Eleanor Holmes Norton (of D.C.) and Peter DeFazio (of Oregon) sent a letter to the Government Accountability Office in late December asking for an investigation into trends and causes of crashes involving bicyclists and pedestrians and recommendations for improving safety. READ MORE
Making Bicycling and Pedestrian Data Count
Each year, the Transportation Research Board meeting (TRB) is one of the largest gatherings of transportation professionals and researchers in the world, and this year's TRB is no exception. With more than 12,000 participants, 5,000 presentations, and 750 different sessions, it's kind of a big deal for the Department, the industry, and for all Americans who depend on a safe and reliable transportation network. You're likely to see more than one blog post here in the Fast Lane on TRB-related topics this week. I'm pleased to kick-off our TRB coverage by discussing the importance of more effective bike-ped counts.

To ensure that a community's bicyclists and pedestrians have safe, useful routes for their travel, we need accurate estimates of how many people are walking and bicycling in that community. Those counts help guide and support traffic management, usage forecasts, safety studies, and general non-motorized planning and policy. READ MORE
Bicyclist Fatalities a Growing Problem for Key Groups
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The number of bicyclists killed on U.S. roadways is trending upward, particularly for certain subsets of the population, according to a report released today by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA). GHSA’s Spotlight on Highway Safety: Bicyclist Safety notes that yearly bicyclist deaths increased 16 percent between 2010 and 2012, while overall motor vehicle fatalities increased just one percent during the same time period.

The report’s author, former Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Chief Scientist Dr. Allan Williams, analyzed current and historical fatality data to uncover bicyclist crash patterns. There have been some remarkable changes. For example, adults 20 and older represented 84 percent of bicyclist fatalities in 2012, compared to only 21 percent in 1975. Adult males comprised 74 percent of the total number of bicyclists killed in 2012. READ MORE
2012 Bicycle Crash Facts
In 2012, 726 pedalcyclists were killed and an additional 49,000 were injured in motor vehicle traffic crashes. Pedalcyclist deaths accounted for 2 percent of all motor vehicle traffic fatalities (Table 1), and made up 2 percent of the people injured in traffic crashes during the year. For the purpose of this Traffic Safety Fact Sheet, bicyclists and other cyclists include riders of two-wheel, nonmotorized vehicles, tricycles, and unicycles powered solely by pedals. The term pedalcyclist will be used to identify these cyclists.The number of pedalcyclists killed in 2012 is 6 percent higher than the 682 pedalcyclists killed in 2011. READ MORE
On a Roll: The Cycling Community is Alive and Well in the Magic City
Every time he braked for a group of cyclists, the pastor would pound on his steering wheel. This is dumb—you’re in the way! Why are you on the road? He would hover behind the last rider in line, fuming until he could pass. Then he’d stomp on the gas and roar by the riders, inches from bare elbows. If they cringed, too bad. It served them right. They didn’t belong on the road. READ MORE
Where We Ride
In “Where we Ride: An Analysis of Bicycling in American Cities” we take a look at bicycle commuters throughout the nation, looking at broad trends (such as the three states that have had a more than 100% increase since 2005) and more particular analyses (such as top bike commuter rates in cities of various sizes). Our hope is that this new report gives cyclists, policy makers and the general public a better idea of the breadth and diversity of cities that are better than the national average for bike commuters as a share of all commuters. READ MORE
What Kind of Bike Lanes Are Safest -- Story in One Slide
The research seems pretty clear on what kind of bike lanes are safest, and bring out the most bicyclists: cycle tracks. But perhaps it is not clear enough: Hennepin County (Minnesota) is intent on building in-the-street,non-separated bicycle lanes instead of separated cycle tracks. David Maki was skeptical, solicited input from some experts, and explains the story in the Twin Cities Daily Planet. READ MORE
Bicycle Crash Facts
Fatalities

Bicycle crash deaths are not as high as they have been in the past decade, but any bicyclist fatality is of great concern. Bicycle deaths make up approximately 2% of all traffic related deaths. To get this number to zero where it belongs, it will take more effort both from the bicyclists and all vehicle drivers. Most drivers when asked why they pulled out in front of bicyclist state: "I never saw him/her." This is true because many drivers do not look for cyclists (both bicyclists and motorcyclists have this problem), especially when distracted or in a hurry. Many drivers are looking for cars and trucks, and they just fail to perceive that they are putting a bicyclist in danger. Drivers need to correct this and pay special attention to cyclists and pedestrians, since they are particularly vulnerable. But cyclists also need to be aware that drivers may not see them and drive defensively around cars. Finally, then need to recognize that it is illegal to operate a bicycle under the effects of alcohol; and that alcohol is involved in 37% of all bicycle related deaths.

Helmets

An integral part of practicing safe bicycle riding is wearing a helmet. Helmets can provide extra protection should you hit your head in an accident; and it can also prevent fatalities and severe injuries. It is not required by law for a bicycle rider above the age of 16 to wear a helmet, but it is strongly encouraged in order to prevent bicycle related injuries.