Investing in Cycling & Walking a Great Way to Improve Road Safety

Due to increased crashes, BC is facing a road safety crisis. So far, the Government has not committed to dramatically improving cycling and walking choices, which can be very effective in improving road safety, reducing injures, fatalities and ICBC's costs.

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The BC Road Safety Strategy 2015 states:

These smart modes of transportation include walking, cycling and public transport. By reducing private car use, these other travel modes reduce the motor vehicle crash rate, encourage healthy physical activity, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions and our carbon footprint.

The BC Government has taken a few good steps to improve road safety including committing to using red light cameras for speed enforcement but clearly that is not enough.

From A New Traffic Safety Paradigm by Todd Litman, page 14:

Total (all mode) per capita traffic fatality rates tend to decline as active transport mode shares increase in U.S. urban regions, as illustrated below. Cities with active mode shares over 10% average about half the traffic fatality rates as those with active mode shares under 5%. 

Relatively modest investments can increase active mode travel and safety. For example, the U.S. Federal Highway Administration’s Nonmotorized Transportation Pilot Program invested about $100 per capita in pedestrian and cycling improvements in four typical U.S. communities, which caused walking trips to increase 23% and cycling trips to increase 48%, mostly for utilitarian purposes (FHWA 2014). Despite this increase in their exposure, pedestrian fatalities declined 20% and bicycle fatalities 29%, causing per-mile fatality rates to decline 36% for pedestrians and 52% for bicyclists.

For BC, we are recommending $100 million per year be invested by the BC Government in bike paths, sidewalks and other active transportation improvements. With matching funds from municipalities, the Federal Government and TransLink, this should increase cycling mode share to over 10% and walking to around 10%. Based on the results from the states, this could cut traffic fatalities in half in communities around BC.

Source, and More Info

A New Traffic Safety Paradigm | Todd Litman, Victoria Transport Policy Institute

Image:Todd Litman, Victoria Transport Policy Institute

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