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

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.

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