People concerned with bicycle road safety scored a huge victory in Washington D.C. with the announcement of new cycling laws. These laws address the growing issue of safety for cyclists and pedestrians. Most traffic accident deaths and serious injuries in our country have been on the decline. Still, the most vulnerable people—those that walk and bike—have not seen the same decrease in accidents. About 15.5% of all traffic-related deaths and 16.7% of all traffic-related serious injuries in the nation involved pedestrians and cyclists.

Woman on bike

While cities like New York and San Francisco have set impressive goals to greatly reduce cyclist and pedestrian fatalities, the U.S. Department of Transportation has lagged behind in setting equal goals.

Years in the Making

In 2012, Congress asked for a set of national goals to guide federal, state, and local investments in our transportation system. After years of research, meetings, and even protests, the laws have officially gone into effect.

The new laws include a directive to the US Department of Transportation (DOT) from Congress. This set of directions requires the DOT to establish new ways of measuring safety in crashes involving pedestrians and cyclists by September 30, 2015.

What Does this Mean?

So what can we expect from this advance in pedestrian/cyclists safety? For one, all states are now required to set goals aimed at reducing non-motorized fatalities. The states will then have to report back on their progress, so that whey will be held accountable.

Also, the law will make sure that the federal Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) is held to the same standard. In the past, a few HSIP projects have included some designs to improve pedestrian and cyclist safety, but most projects focus mainly on automobile safety. They have ignored concerns for pedestrians and cyclist, including street designs that make it a challenge to comfortably walk and bike. These new rules will make it mandatory that these state and nationwide organizations report on what they are doing.

An Attorney’s View

We are excited to see these important changes go into effect. We hate to see people suffering from injuries and accidents that could have been prevented. Now, we are hopeful that the number of these accidents will begin to fall dramatically and that riding and walking the roads in the cities we live in will become a safer activity. Even with these positive changes in the rules of the road and how safety is monitored, accidents can still happen. If you are injured in an accident, we are here to help. Be sure to get the help you need to you aren’t left struggling with medical bills, pain, or loss of the ability to participate in the activities you enjoy. Call us today at 801.506.0800 or request a consultation with one of our experience Utah bicycle lawyers by filling out the free consultation form on the right-hand side of this page.


Photo courtesy of Luca via Flickr