Posted by

“A Right to the Road”: Understanding and addressing the safety of people who bike

As State Farm spokesperson Vicki Harper told Washington Post writer Ashley Halsey III—speaking about a State Farm-funded report from the Governors Highway Safety Association, released 8/24/17“When we bike, we have as much right to the road as when we drive.”

For an intro to the report, see Halsey’s story—https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/trafficandcommuting/bike-riding-isnt-childs-play-anymore-and-cycling-crash-deaths-are-soaring/2017/08/23/abbcb22e-8773-11e7-a94f-3139abce39f5_story.html.

Then check out the 75-page report, “A Right to the Road: Understanding & Addressing Bicyclist Safety.” A free download is provided on the GHSA website, where related infographics are provided as well: http://www.ghsa.org/resources/bicyclist-safety2017
For some highlights from the report, and related Monterey County info, read on.

Among the wide range of info in the report, it points out that in 1969, 48% of children biked to school as compared to 2.2% now. I look forward to combing over the entire report, which was released today.

One thing I’ve already appreciated is the report’s making clear (e.g., see pg 48): “Providing infrastructure that separates riders from motorists is the most effective.” There they refer to Cycle Tracks (AKA Protected Bike Lanes / Class 4 Separated Bikeways), which California Bicycle Coalition strongly advocates for as well; learn more.  
In the absence of such infrastructure, the GHSA report recommends (among other measures) bike boxes. A bicycle box “gives bicyclists [reminder: no spandex required, a “bicyclist” simply refers to any person who bikes] a head-start when the light turns green as well as improves their visibility to motorists who can see in which direction cyclists are proceeding.”
Bicycling Monterey requested of the California Department of Transportation in July 2017 that bike boxes be added on CA SR 68—e.g., at Olmsted Road and at Highway 218 / Canyon del Rey. Caltrans is set to repave 7 miles in 2018 (as reported in Monterey County Weekly) of that Monterey-Salinas corridor. Sounds like a good time to add the boxes in a cost-effective way. Learn more about bike boxes: https://nacto.org/publication/urban-bikeway-design-guide/intersection-treatments/bike-boxes/
Highway 68, while beautifully scenic…
…is also a very heavy with traffic, which is why new solutions are being sought by TAMC and others.
At such locations as Highway 68, bike boxes are a measure that can help—as the Governors Highway Safety Association report pointed out (page 48): “When physical separation is not possible, reducing the distance or time that bicyclists are exposed to risk is essential.”
Below, on Olmsted Road, at the SR 68 intersection. City of Monterey added in August 2017 a green lane on Olmsted, to remind people exiting Monterey Regional Airport that people who bike are rightfully sharing the road. 
Bicycling Monterey urges Caltrans to add bike boxes on Highway 68 (the road perpendicular to Olmsted at the above intersection), and at others, e.g., at the SR 68 and SR 218 (Canyon del Rey) intersection pictured below.
As Bicycling Monterey emphasizes, making bicycling safer isn’t just about having riding skills and observing bike laws, it’s about advocating for better infrastructure too!
One way to advocate is to attend your city or county’s transportation planning meetings. Among these in Monterey County are the Transportation Agency for Monterey County’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Facilities Advisory Committee meetings. For more ideas, see “Bicycling Advocacy: What you can do,” or just phone me.

There’s lots more on the Bicycling Monterey website about topics addressed in the report. Feel free to phone me if you can’t readily find what you’re looking for.

The panel of experts for the Governors Highway Safety Association report included, among others, Julia Griswold, PhD of SafeTREC, University of California-Berkeley; and Ken McLeod, Policy Director for the League of American Bicyclists.

Leave a Reply