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Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety

The primary purpose of pedestrian and bicyclist research is to reduce injuries and fatalities by better understanding the causes of pedestrian/bicyclist fatalities; identifying and evaluating potential safety improvement measures; fostering public awareness of pedestrian and bicycle safety matters; and providing resources for use at the national, State, and local levels.

National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) 2015 Pedestrian Safety Facts indicate the size of the pedestrian and bicyclist safety problem in the United States:

  • Pedestrians account for nearly 15 percent of traffic fatalities nationally.
  • 5,376 pedestrians and 818 pedalcyclists were killed in traffic crashes.
  • 69,000 pedestrians and 45,000 pedalcyclists were injured in traffic crashes.
  • On average, a pedestrian is killed almost every 1.6 hours and injured every 7.5 minutes.
  • 5 percent of all pedalcyclists killed were between 5 and 15 years old.

Accordingly, FHWA‘s Pedestrian Safety Program develops pedestrian safety-related products, research documents, and technologies to help improve conditions for pedestrians. From safer crosswalks and sidewalks to growing educational and safety initiatives, the program strives to cultivate safer roadways for some of the most vulnerable roadway users.

Recent research considered the problem of pedestrians who choose to cross the road at midblock locations when there are long distances between intersections. Researchers developed and evaluated countermeasures—including the pedestrian hybrid beacon (PHB), rapid-flash beacon, and shared-lane markings—to improve the safety of pedestrian crossings. This research analyzed pedestrian and driver responses to PHBs and identified the operational tradeoffs associated with different locations of PHBs.

Updated: Monday, December 2, 2019