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Children walking on a sidewalkBicycle and Pedestrian Safety

Walking and biking are increasingly touted as healthy, environmentally friendly transportation options. More people are walking and biking to work, cities are implementing bike share programs, and transportation planners are taking pedestrians and bicyclists into account.

Unfortunately, pedestrians and cyclists are at an inherent disadvantage when involved in traffic crashes: when a faster moving vehicle meets a pedestrian or a bicycle, the vehicle always wins.

In 2013, 4,735 pedestrians were killed in traffic crashes in the United States, 14% of all traffic fatalities.

Each year about 2 percent of motor vehicle crash deaths are bicyclists. In 2013, 743 bicyclists were killed in crashes with motor vehicles.

GHSA recognizes the importance of bicycle and pedestrian safety. Several of its member State Highway Safety Offices (SHSOs) administer programs focused on improving safety for people who ride bikes and walk, including the Safe Routes to School program outlined below.

Safe Routes to School logo
Safe Routes to School

The Safe Routes to School program helps communities enable and encourage children to walk and bike to school safely.

The National Center for Safe Routes to School offers a centralized clearninghouse of information on how to start and sustain a Safe Routes to School program, case studies of successful programs and other training and technical assistance resources.

The Center is maintained by the University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center with funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration. GHSA is a cosponsor of the Safe Routes to School clearinghouse.

For more information, visit

GHSA Policy

Excerpted from GHSA's Highway Safety Policies & Priorities PDF icon [115 KB, 27 pgs.]

G. Bicycles, Pedestrians, Personal Conveyances and Motorized Devices

G.1 Protective Helmets
GHSA supports the use of helmets by all persons of all ages who ride bicycles and other unconventional vehicles and supports testing to assure all helmets meet mandatory federal safety requirements. GHSA encourages states to support the use of helmets, adopt helmet laws and continue to provide bicycle safety awareness programs. States are also encouraged to collect data on bicycle helmet usage to the greatest practicable extent.

G.2 Bicycle Safety
GHSA supports implementation of bicycle safety education programs and enforcement of mandatory bicycle helmet laws. The problem of bicycle safety should be researched, continually monitored and evaluated to determine the effectiveness of countermeasures and to document the progress that has been made in reducing the size and scope of the problem. Special bicycle safety programs aimed at young children and teenagers should also be implemented at the state and community levels.

G.3 Pedestrian Safety
GHSA supports efforts to raise public awareness about the problem of pedestrian safety and
encourages implementation of community-based pedestrian safety countermeasures.

Additionally, the Association urges state and local jurisdictions to implement special pedestrian
safety emphasis programs for young children and older adults since these groups constitute the
largest percentage of pedestrian fatalities and injuries.

GHSA also supports further research on pedestrian issues as well as monitoring and evaluating
progress toward reducing pedestrian fatalities and injuries.

GHSA supports enforcement of traffic laws to protect pedestrians, in particular those laws
protecting pedestrians crossing roadways at crosswalks.