Cycling Vision Zero, What Is It?
Vision Zero is safety approach with the core principle that it is never ethically acceptable for people to be killed or seriously injured when moving within the road transportation system. Vision Zero switches safety from being solely the responsibility of roadway users to a shared responsibility between system designers and people on the road. Because it’s inevitable that roadway users will make mistakes, roads should be designed to ensure these mistakes don’t result in severe injuries or death.Denver Regional Council of Governments
It is important to recognize that Vision Zero is more than a goal, or a slogan or even a new program. It is a fundamental shift in how we think about and work on roadway safety.
The primary problem with cycling is the risk of crashes and the vulnerability of cyclists using the roads, paths, and trails. Because of our concern over the number of serious injuries including fatalities, it’s become even more clear that safety should be the thread that’s woven through everything we do with advocacy. We’ve had tough losses in the cycling community that have driven home the need for a greater focus on safety, and the need to advocate for safer conditions, enforcement of the laws already on the books, stepping up as individuals and organizations to help the county and municipalities create a safer space in a multi-modal approach.
In spring or 2021, after the tragic death of Gwen Inglis, Bike Jeffco came up with the idea of hosting a Cycling Vision Zero Workshop as we knew it was time to take more action. To help bring our idea to fruition, we asked Pete Piccolo of Bicycle Colorado to facilitate the meeting. On June 22. 2021, we conducted the meeting which hosted a panel of nine experts and over 30 participants. Topics covered included:
- Infrastructure – municipal, county and state
- Laws and legislation Infrastructure – municipal, county and state
- Legal aspects, enforcement and sentencing
- Behavior and how that creates risk
- Education for drivers and cyclists – Public Service Announcements
Here are 5 PowerPoint slides representing what each of the 5 groups identified as points to act on to improve cycling safety:
In 2022, Bike Jeffco’s Cycling Vision focus was on two fronts:
Signage – Consistent, effective bicycle-friendly signage to provide more awareness of State Law and cyclists rights. For example, State Law 3 Feet Minimum signs should replace Share the Road signs. We already accomplished this on Belleview Ave. west of Quincy with five new signs installed by the County. Our goal is State-wide adoption of those signs.
Education – About bike/ped safety issues to raise awareness of drivers and cyclists and promote respectful behavior. This will be accomplished by communications in monthly meetings, our website, social media, and events such as Veloswap, Bike-to-Work Day, and others.
The beauty of the education initiative is that it’s something we can take on ourselves right way and take responsibility for our own behavior and influence people toward safer riding. Our objectives are:
- Increase knowledge of existing and proposed laws pertaining to bicycling and the driver/rider interface
- Educate on crash avoidance and other bike safety practices
- Humanization of cyclists
- Influence a culture that appreciates cyclists on the road
- Promote the mental/physical health and environmental benefits of cycling
- Legitimize cycling as a form of transportation, not just recreation
- Increase awareness of low stress routes, hazards, and detours or closures
Bike Jeffco is committed to work make continual progress on Cycling Vision Zero initiaitves.
By Steve Roe
Most cyclists have been there. One minute you’re having a great ride, the next you’re unexpectedly slammed to the ground in a nanosecond. It just happened to me a few days ago. I was riding at a fast clip along 44th Avenue, a narrow two- lane street heading into Golden. Just west of Easley Street, the 10-ft wide West 44th Avenue Trail opened up to the side of me and when I saw an entryway to the trail, I decided to take it to get away from cars. The problem was there were rocks and gravel on the entryway. I chose to go there anyway without slowing down. Bad choice, a rock deflected my 28-mm tire, and I was violently slammed onto the pavement. I landed on my hip and shoulder and yes, it was shocking and painful. Two witnesses offered me help, but as guys do, I said “no, I’m OK” and rode off towards home 15 miles away. My bike was fine.
As I rode for 20 minutes or so, knowing I wasn’t quite right, I decided to alter my route to an urgent care center in Golden. I called my wife and asked her to meet me there. As I was checking in, I removed my helmet and inspected it for damage. Here’s what I found!
The urgent care folks quickly got me in for X-rays. As I waited, I cleaned my wounds, which were surprisingly minor scrapes on the hip, arms and shoulder. The full finger gloves and arm sunscreens helped protect my skin. I also posted my ride on Strava with the picture of my helmet and the heading “Bad Choices.” The X-rays indicated no bone breaks, and the diagnosis was a minor shoulder sprain that should heal up in a few weeks. Surprisingly I had no trauma to my head or scars to my face. Boy was I lucky!
So, what is the point of this article? First, bicycling is fun until you have a crash. Then it sucks and the consequences can range from minor to devastating. I want to continue riding, but it’s more important that I stay healthy, live out my life and be there for my family. I think the root cause of this crash was overconfidence. I felt too comfortable that I could ride through the debris and was wrong. I try to learn from my mistakes and intend to make better decisions that allow me a larger margin for error. I encourage you all to be careful and prepare for the unexpected!