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Safer Streets

Creating Safer Streets

As rates of bicycling continue to rise across the country and advocates cross-country work for larger investments in cycling-specific programming and infrastructure, opposition is often united under the rallying cry of scofflaw cyclists. While it is true that not all cyclists obey the rules of the road as they should, are those on two wheels really more reckless and lawless than those travelling on four? Local D.C. blog WashCycle theorized on the ‘Myth of the Scofflaw Cyclist’ last year that perhaps the issue isn’t that cyclist break more laws than motorist, but that they break different ones.

There are few places where the effects of traffic are more notable than New York City. While a recent Hunter College study suggests that many Big Apple cyclists are guilty of poor riding behavior, unsafe behavior of motorists was not examined. Local active transportation advocates Transportation Alternatives offered their own study in response, as noted in today’s NY Post:

Motorists commit about three potentially life-threatening traffic violations every minute at city intersections, clocking in at a stunning 157 each hour, according to the Transportation Alternatives report: From Chaos to Compliance.

And drivers don’t give way to pedestrians, cyclists, and other vehicles 24 times every hour — even though that same crime caused the second-most crashes in the city two years ago, the transit advocacy group’s study found.

Those are scary numbers, especially given that more than 200 people die in traffic crashes every year in New York City alone. While traffic fatalities are down more than 35 percent over the past seven years, Transportation Alternatives is calling for increased enforcement that targets dangerous violations.

Much like the Share the Road message, targeted enforcement is a two way street. In our Bicycle Friendly Community application we ask how your community’s law enforcement targets dangerous behavior for all road users – including cyclists. However enforcement can’t do it alone. Our Smart Cycling program is on target to certify more than 400 League Cycling Instructors this year. These LCI’s will offer our Traffic Skills training courses, assist with law enforcement training and serve as safe cycling ambassadors in their clubs and community. By working through all of the Five E’s, we are striving to create safer streets for everyone.

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