Bicycle Safety Guide and Countermeasure Selection System


Communities are asking that streets do more to accommodate all transportation modes. To better accommodate bicyclists and improve safety for nonmotorized users, communities want to see motor vehicle speeds managed and reduced on their neighborhood streets; streets made more accessible to persons with disabilities; streetscapes that are more attractive and inviting to all users; and more equitable distribution of infrastructural investments. This chapter discusses some of the issues related to setting priorities and implementing needed bicycling improvements.

Getting Started

Getting started can be daunting—the needs are overwhelming, resources are scarce, and staff time is limited. Every community is faced with the questions of “Where do I start?” and “How do I get going?” While it is not the intent of this guide to provide an exhaustive discussion of implementation strategies, some direction is helpful.


Since all bicycling needs cannot be addressed immediately, project priorities need to be established. Creating priorities requires attention to several program objectives:

One Step at a Time

To create a safe community for bicycling, take one step at a time. Along main corridors, check to see that there is adequate space for riding, given the speed and volume of motor vehicle traffic at both midblock and intersection locations. Improvements are installed block by block and intersection by intersection. Individually, these locations do not create a safe, livable community. Collectively, they create the infrastructure needed for a great place to work, play, and conduct business. In other words, the whole bicycling system is greater than the sum of its parts.

Community Concerns

Be sensitive to community concerns. Public participation will build community pride and buy-in that is essential to long-term success. Some of the problems identified in this guide will not be an issue in your community and some of the tools may be perceived as infeasible (at least initially). There probably will be measures that your community puts on hold for a few years until a community consensus is reached. Conversely, there probably will be measures that your community would like to pursue that are not even mentioned in this planning guide. There may also be measures that can be installed on a temporary or interim basis to determine community acceptance.


It is important to produce immediate results that people can see. For example, the addition of bike lanes and/or the removal of parking along a street are highly visible, while a transportation plan is a paper document that may never be seen or appreciated by the public. To keep its momentum, a program needs some “quick wins.” They create the sense that something is happening and that government is responsive.


Bicycling (and pedestrian) projects and programs can be funded by Federal, State, local, private, or any combination of sources. Communities that are most successful at securing funds often have the following ingredients of success:

Implementation Strategies

There are many ways to accomplish projects. Be creative; take advantage of opportunities as they present themselves. Here are some suggestions:

Routine Accommodation

“Piggybacking” bicycling (and pedestrian) improvements onto capital projects are one of the best ways to make major improvements in a community. For example, when a street is resurfaced, consider whether lanes should be narrowed or reduced when the street is re-striped to provide for bike lanes, wide curb lanes, or simply more space for cyclists. Landscaping, lighting, and other amenities can be included in road projects, utility projects, and private construction in public rights-of-way (e.g., cable television, high-speed fiber optics, etc.). To accomplish this, there are several things that can be done:

Developer Requirements and Incentives

Issues here tend to pertain more to pedestrian activities. For example, developers can be required to install public infrastructure such as sidewalks, extensions of a multi-use path, curb ramps, and traffic signals, or pay an in-lieu fee. In addition, zoning requirements can be written to allow for, or require narrower streets, shorter blocks, and mixed-use development. These infrastructure items benefit bicycling as well. Encouraging developers and community leaders to focus on basic pedestrian and bicycling needs will benefit the community and increase the attractiveness of the developments themselves.

Annual Programs

Consider expanding/ initiating annual programs to make small, visible improvements on a regular basis. Examples include improving space for bicyclists on streets where it is poor, or adding space to a link between two areas to improve connectivity. This creates momentum and community support. Several considerations should be made when developing these programs:

Public/Private Partnerships

Increasingly, public improvements are realized through public/private partnerships. These partnerships can take many forms. Examples include community development corporations, neighborhood organizations, grants from foundations, direct industry support, and involvement of individual citizens. Many public projects, whether they are traffic-calming improvements, street trees, or the restoration of historic buildings, are the result of individual people getting involved and deciding to make a difference. This involvement doesn’t just happen; it needs to be encouraged and supported by local governmental authorities.