The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center (PBIC), within the University of North Carolina’s Highway Safety Research Center, recently published The Role of Law Enforcement in Supporting Pedestrian and Bicyclist Safety: An Idea Book.
The document discusses what law enforcement can do to improve pedestrian and bicyclist safety. In the section titled Examine and Report Crash Data and Share Information they state:
Research shows that near-miss incidents deter bicyclists from riding, and close calls are overwhelmingly more frequent than collisions. 14
Cyclist Video Evidence, based out of Alameda, California, offers a website resource for bicyclists, enforcement agencies, and others to share videos of close calls and submit incident reports. The free platform provides documentation for law enforcement and government agencies to analyze and map near-miss data to gain perspectives on the realities bicyclists face and identify danger zones for road safety improvement. 15
CyclistVideoEvidence.com provides cyclists with tools to generate objective near miss data that accurately documents threats that cause cyclists to stop cycling and prevents potential cyclists from starting. This data empowers cyclists and communities to identify dangerous drivers and dangerous areas before collisions occur. We also work with cyclists to remove legal system barriers to cyclist safety and create legal precedents that all cyclists can leverage to help create safe, shared streets.
Sadly, law enforcement and government agencies still rely exclusively on collisions as their sole metric representing the threats cyclists face riding on the roads. Collisions, however, are incredibly infrequent compared to near misses, as documented in the academic research cited in the PBIC document above and experienced by cyclists riding on any busy road. Furthermore, Federal Highway Administration research documents that collisions are horribly under-reported, even by cyclists that end up in the emergency room. Up to 60% of cyclists that end up in the emergency room after a vehicle collision, do not report their incident to law enforcement. Determining the threat level faced by cyclists based on incredibly infrequent and horribly under-reported collision data does not accurately reflect the main factors limiting the potential cycling population: near misses and perceived risk.
Cyclists and communities need to take the lead on generating accurate, objective, threat level and perceived risk data. This data can greatly augment and enhance law enforcement’s and government agencies’ understanding of the key factors justifiably limiting the potential cycling population.
Cyclists need to always ride with a camera to objectively document the threats they face on the roads as articulated by our Near Miss Spectrum. Cyclists also need to submit all of their near miss incident reports to our free Incident Management System to document and map the threats they face, find repeat offenders before collisions occur and generate objective and highly accurate near miss data for law enforcement, traffic planners and government agencies.
Law enforcement and government agencies should proactively and aggressively encourage cyclists to document all near misses along our Near Miss Spectrum to generate high resolution near miss data.
Cities and communities should then harness this data to determine the actual threats and perceived risk faced by cyclists within their communities, implement measures to address these risks, analyze improvement over time and provide transparent and regular public reporting.
Our free Incident Management System puts the power to identify dangerous drivers, repeat offenders and dangerous areas in the hands of cyclists and communities, for their enlightened self-preservation, before collisions occur.
Please contact us with any thoughts, questions or concerns.
Together – we can create safe, shared streets!