A Road to Bicycle Safety: NTSB Says “Critical Changes” Needed To Reduce Motorists’ Collisions With Cycles

Intersections, intersections.

That’s where 65 percent of bicycle and motor vehicle collisions occur.

And too many cars try to overtake bicyclists on the roads — incidents responsible for least 25 percent of fatal crashes. In many of those cases, the motorists didn’t see the cyclists.

Those are among the findings cited in the National Transportation Safety Board‘s first examination of bicyclist safety in 47 years. The board said today “critical changes” are needed to address an increase of bicycle crashes involving motor vehicles.

Among the proposals:

Improve roadway design.

Enhance visibility of bicyclists

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Increase helmet use.

Such plans “hold the most promise for reducing the number of fatal and serious crashes,” the NTSB said.

“If we do not improve roadway infrastructure for bicyclists, more preventable crashes will happen and more cyclists will die in those preventable crashes, ” said NTSB Chairman Robert L. Sumwalt. “If we do not enhance bicyclist conspicuity, more bicyclists will die in preventable crashes.  If we do not act to mitigate head injury for more bicyclists, additional bicyclists will die.”

Figure8e_2way_Center_SBL_Vertical.jpg

Photo, taken Aug. 16, 2019, in Washington, a two-way separated bike lane with vertical barrier is shown. NTSB photo by Ivan Cheung.)

NTSB investigators said “25 percent of all fatal collisions involving bicyclists – the most frequent type – occurred while a motorist was overtaking a bicyclist in the stretches of roadway between intersections.”

At intersections, said fixes should include clearly denoted “right-of-way using color, signage, medians, signals and pavement markings would likely reduce the number of crashes in those environments,” the NTSB said.

Investigators said “about a third of the motorists involved in fatal crashes while overtaking a bicyclist did not see the bicyclist prior to the collision. “

The NTSB safety report will be available in several weeks, officials said. A text of the findings and safety recommendations, is available at https://go.usa.gov/xpTps. — Joe Cantlupe, HealthDataBuzz

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