Goal #1: Motorists Will Share the Road

Goal #2: Bicyclists Will Ride Safely

Goal #3: Bicyclists Will Wear Helmets

Goal #4: The Legal System Will Support Safe Bicycling

Goal #5: Roads and Paths Will Safely Accommodate Bicyclists


The Legal System Will Support Safe Bicycling

The rights and rules of the road apply to both cyclists and motorists. The rights of cyclists must be upheld through the legal system and the laws affecting safe bicycling must be fairly and consistently enforced. However, some cyclists believe that motorists are not penalized for violating cyclist right-of-way and that, consequentially, data systems assign fault to cyclists in crashes. Data on high-risk crash locations and public support for enforcement efforts are important for good legislation and for getting law enforcement and the courts to uphold the laws and regulations that discourage unsafe behavior.

Strategy #1 Improve the collection and quality of data concerning bicycle crash incidents, including both traffic and non-traffic sites.

Action Steps

  1. Evaluate the accuracy of currently collected law enforcement and injury data with respect to completeness and recording of elements of the causal chain that led to the crash.  
  2. Evaluate the federal and state requirements that pertain to how information about bicycle involvement in crashes is recorded on crash report forms.
  3. Assess the usefulness of existing data reporting systems in tracking incidents and injuries involving bicycles.
  4. Employ community needs assessment and other tools to make recommendations for improvements in data collection procedures.
  5. Create model forms, procedures, and tools to implement recommendations.
  6. Disseminate findings and encourage jurisdictions to improve their data collection procedures and practices.

Strategy #2 Create tools that help law enforcement officers enforce bicycle-safety traffic laws aimed at bicyclists and motorists.

Action Steps

  1. Draft model crash investigation protocols, daily roll call presentations, and bicycle safety enforcement tools that can be adapted by law enforcement departments.
  2. Disseminate models to local police departments and sheriffs' departments and encourage them to incorporate bicycle safety content into standard procedures.
  3. Publicize effective enforcement practices and models in law enforcement magazines and trade journals.
  4. Identify internal change agents (including law enforcement on bicycles) and support their efforts to influence other officers.
  5. Conduct an advocacy campaign for law enforcement executives.

Strategy #3 Promote the most promising enforcement efforts at those local sites where they are likely to be effective.

Action Steps

  1. Identify and evaluate new and existing efforts to improve bicycle safety enforcement, such as targeting intersections with high incidents of bicycle-motor vehicle conflicts and high-risk bicycle-endangering behaviors (including speeding).
  2. Disseminate effective practices to law enforcement agencies and professional organizations.
  3. Encourage local law enforcement agencies to implement successful bicycle safety enforcement practices.
  4. Promote increased, accurate media coverage of bicycle crashes.
  5. Build local coalitions of safe bicycling advocates and law enforcement agencies to promote strategic law enforcement.

Strategy #4 Encourage the court system to follow through on bicycle safety enforcement by imposing meaningful penalties for both motorist and bicyclist violations.

Action Steps

  1. Investigate how courts are currently adjudicating bicycle-related incidents.
  2. Evaluate the availability and adequacy of bicycle-related data and reporting systems used by courts.
  3. Disseminate effective practices to court professionals and organizations.
  4. Establish a "bicycle court" model that addresses infractions involving bicyclists.