CBS News is covering efforts to improve traffic safety not by making vehicles into indestructible tanks that reduce the damage in collisions, but by modifying driver behavior.
Traffic calming is a great strategy not only to help motorists, but to help cyclists. While many advocates push bike helmets to help cyclists in crashes, ralistically helmets only protect the head. Avoiding collision protects everything!
With entertaining, yet faulty, logic, many perceive cycling on the road as dangerous, yet think nothing of driving, or believe bikes are safest on bike trails shared with children, inexperienced or unpredictable riders, rollerbladers, and small yappy dogs. In truth, when a cyclist follows traffic laws and the drivers around them show equal respect to the law, road cycling can be safer and more predictable.
Per the CBS article,
“Drivers and pedestrians are victims of engineers looking at traffic flow,” says Andrea Okomski, executive director of Pedestrian InRoads, a nonprofit in Seattle. “We know about traffic calming. … We just don’t do it.”
Cyclists are also a victim of this need for speed, especially since bicycling is an eco-friendly form of both transport and recreation — one that puts the actor in the middle of the environment. Bicyclists are more truly ‘drivers’ in every sense of the word, compared to vehicle operators, because a bicyclist both powers their vehicle (pedals) and operates it (directs its course).
Proponents of vehicular cycling have always taught defensive cycling behaviors and crash avoidance. It is time for traffic engineers to build road facilities that encourage similar thinking among drivers, as well as for state agencies to emphasize such thinking through driver education programs.