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Preventing bicycle accidents for San Francisco commuters

After closely studying the bicycle commuters of the San Francisco Bay area and Portland, Oregon, the Mineta Transportation Institute encourages cyclists throughout California and beyond to pedal on. Its report, Promoting Bicycle Commuter Safety, was sponsored by the California Department of Transportation.

The reports notes a few important statistics:

  • Men are more likely to be the victim of a fatal bicycle accident
  • The majority of all fatal bicycle accidents involve a car crash, but bike-car accidents account for a very small portion of total bike accidents
  • Aggressive drivers attempting to squeeze past cyclists without sufficient passing room is a common factor in bike-car accidents

Through a combination of the 5 Es, put together by a group of bicycle safety organizations, the U.S. DOT and the Global Road Safety Partnership, among others, the study advocates for safer environments for cyclists and motorists with whom they share the road.

The 5 Es are:

  • Engineering, including construction of bike lanes and bike paths, and improving the design of intersections to promote bicycle safety and motorists’ awareness of those on two wheels
  • Education, improving safety awareness and promoting following the rules of the road for both cyclists and vehicle drivers
  • Enforcement, holding both cyclists and drivers accountable for rules of the road violations
  • Encouragement, the more people bike or even walk, the less likely a bicycle accident or pedestrian accident becomes
  • Evaluation, or using accident trends to predict where trouble spots for bicycle accidents exist and to work to implement changes before cyclists are injured or involved in a fatal accident

Overall, the study supports cooperation between those on two wheels and those on four or more in promoting safety and minimizing accidents and injuries.

Source: Mineta Transportation Institute, “Promoting Bicycle Commuter Safety,” February 2012

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