Cycling Safety Through Collision Reduction

We’ve been working on a comprehensive safety strategy for awhile now and here it is. Let us know what you think. It is based on what has proven to be successful in countries such as Denmark and the Netherlands where, as shown in the chart below, cycling levels are really high and cycling fatality rates are significantly lower than here.

Cycling Safety Through Collision Reduction
Cycling Fatalities J Pucher 2005

The BCCC recommends that the province and municipalities implement a comprehensive cycling safety strategy focused on reducing collisions while increasing cycling levels based on best practices from around the world combined with local experience and evidence. This strategy will help make cycling safe, accessible and comfortable for people of all ages and abilities, including children and seniors, through measures including:

Infrastructure – Complete networks of high-quality facilities including bicycle paths, separated bike lanes, traffic-calmed streets and paved shoulders on rural highways that provide the opportunity for safe interaction between cyclists, motorists and pedestrians.
Education – Universally available cycling education and skills training for children and adults. Cycling safety integrated into driver training and testing. On-going safety campaigns targeted at drivers and cyclists.
Maintenance – Prompt all-season maintenance of cycling facilities, roads and shoulders including prompt debris, snow and ice removal.
Hazard Removal – The elimination of hazards including poor surface treatments, blind spots and obstacles on cycling facilities, roads and shoulders.
Legislation – Updating provincial legislation, including the Motor Vehicle Act, to provide greater legal protection and comfort for cyclists and pedestrians in order to encourage these activities and to decrease the potential of collisions involving vulnerable road users.
Speed Reduction – Motor vehicle speed reductions through lower speed limits, traffic calming and enforcement.
Enforcement - Focused enforcement campaigns that maximize the safety of vulnerable road users including cyclists and pedestrians.
Helmet Education – Encouraging the use of helmets through evidence-based education that accurately reflects the risk of cycling in different circumstances. Helmet marketing campaigns that exaggerate the risk of cycling and thus discourage people from cycling should be avoided.
Helmet Choice – As many jurisdictions which have implemented comprehensive crash reduction measures have cycling fatality rates dramatically lower than BC and also very low rates of helmet usage, we recommend allowing adults choice regarding helmet use by eliminating the mandatory helmet requirement for adult cyclists. This will enable enforcement resources to be focused on collision reduction and facilitate the successful introduction of bike share systems.
This strategy would both involve proactive measures to improve the safety of cycling routes and the skills of cyclists and motorists as well as the tracking of the locations and causes of cycling collisions, injuries and fatalities to guide targeted and effective infrastructure improvements, maintenance, education and enforcement efforts.

This entry was posted in News.


  1. Posted May 30, 2011 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

    Looks good! I think that the helmet direction you have taken, is good. It allows free choice to rule, rather than fear and misinformation.

  2. Posted May 31, 2011 at 10:19 am | Permalink

    I like it.

  3. Posted May 31, 2011 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

    Fully Support.
    The helmet law should apply to everyone under 16, and the BC government should give out free helmets.

  4. Posted June 3, 2011 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

    Looks like a document that I would expect from the BCCC.

    I would remove the sentence ” Fear based marketing….”. Even though I agree with the statement I think that it is a divisive way to articulate the marketing strategy of helmet manufactures.

    I would like to see a promotional campaign component. Promoting cycling as an appealing and viable transportation to all peoples. I believe this is the biggest hurdle transportation cycling faces. Cycling needs to be promoted in ways similar to motorized transportation. There are big differences in budget at this stage but with creative use of social media great gains can be made to alter the mass perception of cycling.

    If the ultimate goal is to have more people cycling then I think that should be the focus. Starting with connecting/encouraging the people that are presently cycling for recreation (grande fondo, ride to conquer cancer, mountain bikers, etc) . These people far out number the people that commute and already have an interest/love for cycling. The challenge will be to appeal to their sensibilities and formulate new strategies.

    More recreational conversions will lift cycling from its' present state of being a minority of marginalised to the choice of the masses.

  5. Posted June 3, 2011 at 2:15 pm | Permalink


    Good point. How about just “Helmet marketing campaigns that exaggerate the risk of cycling and thus discourage people from cycling should be avoided.”

  6. Posted June 9, 2011 at 5:36 am | Permalink

    It all looks good to me. I certainly agree with the approach to helmets as long as there is some sort of requirement for youths to wear them. I still think most adults will wear them regardless of the law. Less laws, more common sense!

    One area that we might also like to look at is effective advertising via newspaper, TV and billboards to promote cycling in various ways. This could be funded by government, ICBC & private business.

    We also want to somehow go big and get the movie and television industry to promote cycling by writing it into their scripts more often. (Look what they did with having less leading actors smoke in scripts!) We all know the power of film to create images and perceptions that permeate our culture. Lets use that in a positive way!

  7. Posted June 9, 2011 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

    @JDF Cycle Coalition
    There certainly seems to be stronger evidence supporting helmets for children. Even in places where adults rarely wear helmets like Copenhagen, it is fairly common for children to be wearing helmet. It seems to make sense to keep the helmet requirement for children.

    One concern that has been raised is that for families without a lot of money, affording helmets is an issue especially since it is pretty important that helmets that fit properly as children grow. Programs that provide helmets to low income families are critical especially where their are helmet laws.

    As well, it is important to educate people not to wear cycling helmets when they are not cycling. There have been a few cases of children being strangled to death by bicycle helmets while playing.