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Governors Highway Safety Group releases Report on Importance of Bicyclist Safety

As the League of American Bicyclists’ Policy Director, I had the opportunity to work with the Governors Highway Safety Association and other traffic safety experts on a report sponsored by State Farm and focused on highway safety. The report found that bicyclist deaths rose 12.2% in 2015, the largest percentage increase of any roadway user group that year. In response to this safety crisis, the GHSA’s report details 30 lifesaving actions that states can take to reduce deaths and injuries among people who bike.

Notably, this report, A Right to the Road: Understanding & Addressing Bicyclist Safety emphasizes the need for better data, law enforcement training, and roadway improvements rather than placing the responsibility for addressing bicyclist safety on bicyclists themselves. This is a shift from past reports and press releases that often emphasized bicyclist behavior rather than all of the circumstances and motorist behaviors that make bicycling less safe. I am very excited that this means we can have a more productive conversation about creating a systemic change to an unsafe transportation rather than focusing on changing individual behaviors.

This report is an important step in educating state highway safety offices about bicyclist safety issues and presenting real world solutions along with funding opportunities. These offices have the difficult task of addressing unsafe road user behavior without always having a direct role in how roadways are built. The report highlights opportunities such as the 405(H) Non-Motorized National Priority Safety Program, which was a major point of our advocacy in the last federal transportation. The Report also extensively references the League’s bike law resources, which can provide valuable additional detail if you or your highway safety agency has questions about bicycle laws.

I am glad that I was able to contribute to this report. I think it is a great resource for individuals who want to know more about bicycle safety efforts, state and local agencies looking to address bicycle safety issues, and everyone who wants to know more about why bicyclist safety is a persistent issue in our current transportation system.

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