Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety
Walking and biking are increasingly touted as healthy, environmentally friendly transportation options. More people are walking and biking to work, cities are implementing bike share programs, and planners are taking pedestrians and bicyclists into account when designing transportation plans.
Unfortunately, pedestrians and cyclists are at an inherent disadvantage when involved in traffic crashes: when a faster moving vehicle meets a pedestrian or a bicycle, the vehicle always wins.
In 2009, more than 4,000 pedestrians were killed and an estimated 59,000 were injured in traffic crashes in the United States. Older pedestrians and young children are particularly vulnerable, accounting for more pedestrian traffic fatalities than other age groups. Pedestrian fatalities are also much more likely to occur in urban settings.
A total of 630 bicyclists were killed in crashes with motor vehicles in 2009, representing less than two percent of motor vehicle crash deaths. Ninety-one percent of those killed were not wearing helmets.
GHSA recognizes the importance of bicycle and pedestrian (commonly referred to as bike/ped) safety. Several of its member State Highway Safety Offices (SHSOs) administer bike/ped programs, including the Safe Routes to School program outlined below.
The Safe Routes to School program helps communities enable and encourage children to walk and bike to school safely.
The National Center for Safe Routes to School offers a centralized clearninghouse of information on how to start and sustain a Safe Routes to School program, case studies of successful programs and other training and technical assistance resources.
Safe Routes to School – Noteworthy Practices Guide
[5.63 MB, 82 pgs.]
The Center is maintained by the University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center with funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration. GHSA is a cosponsor of the Safe Routes to School clearinghouse.
For more information, visit www.saferoutesinfo.org.
- New Safe Routes to School Guide Coincides with Decade of Action Launch (May 11, 2011)
- Safe Routes to School – Noteworthy Practices Guide [5.63 MB, 82 pgs.]
Excerpted from GHSA's Highway Safety Policies & Priorities [115 KB, 27 pgs.]
G. Bicycles, Pedestrians, Personal Conveyances and Motorized Devices
G.3 Pedestrian Safety
GHSA supports efforts to raise public awareness about the problem of pedestrian safety and
encourages implementation of community-based pedestrian safety countermeasures.
Additionally, the Association urges state and local jurisdictions to implement special pedestrian
safety emphasis programs for young children and older adults since these groups constitute the
largest percentage of pedestrian fatalities and injuries.
GHSA also supports further research on pedestrian issues as well as monitoring and evaluating
progress toward reducing pedestrian fatalities and injuries.
GHSA supports enforcement of traffic laws to protect pedestrians, in particular those laws
protecting pedestrians crossing roadways at crosswalks.