Evaluating Enforcement of Bicycle Safety Laws

Basic traffic safety laws are frequently violated by bicyclists and drivers alike. Given the unknowns surrounding interactions and conflicts between bicycles and motor vehicles and law enforcement efforts, more research is needed. This study will be conducted in phases. The first phase will consist of three parts – (1) assess the extent to which crashes, injuries, and fatalities are associated with bicyclist and motor vehicle driver actions (e.g., attempting to pass bicyclists too closely, failing to yield right of way on the part of the bicyclist or driver, merging improperly, etc.), (2) determine which, if any, localities are enforcing bicyclist safety laws such as safe passing and yielding statutes, and how they are enforcing the statutes, and (3) determine what methodologies have been developed and are available to observe bicyclist/motor vehicle interactions such as measuring passing distance or yielding behaviors and the extent to which these methodologies are being used. Based on the first phase of the project, a behavior will be targeted (e.g., unsafe passing or not yielding) that significantly contributes to the number of bicycle/motor vehicle crashes. The second phase of the project will involve enlisting a locality with a large number of bicycle crashes attributed to the targeted behavior to participate in a High Visibility Enforcement (HVE) program aimed at modifying the targeted behavior. For instance, if the behavior of interest is increasing passing distance of bicyclists by motorists, the goal would be to increase driver compliance to bicycle safe passing laws. Components of the project would include observations of motorists passing bicyclists to document passing behavior before, during, and after an HVE program, and an evaluation of the program to determine the impact law enforcement combined with increased education about bicyclist safe passing laws has on motorists passing bicyclists at a safe distance. The enforcement and education effort will use a modified methodology based on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Gainesville, Florida pedestrian yielding study.


    • English


    • Status: Active
    • Funding: $568441
    • Contract Numbers:


    • Sponsor Organizations:

      National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

      1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
      Washington, D.C.  United States  20590
    • Project Managers:

      Johnson, Kristie

    • Performing Organizations:

      Dunlap and Associates, Incorporated

      110 Lenox Avenue
      Stamford, CT  United States  06906
    • Principal Investigators:

      Johnson, Kristie

    • Start Date: 20160927
    • Expected Completion Date: 20220000
    • Actual Completion Date: 0
    • USDOT Program: Behavioral Safety Research
    • Subprogram: Bicycle Safety

    Subject/Index Terms

    Filing Info

    • Accession Number: 01629737
    • Record Type: Research project
    • Source Agency: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
    • Contract Numbers: DTNH2216C00027
    • Files: RIP, USDOT
    • Created Date: Mar 23 2017 1:48PM