Traffic deaths on American roadways have steadily risen since 2010. Death rates for vulnerable road users, such as pedestrians and cyclists, have risen at three times the rate of occupants of motor vehicles.
As a result, the National Safety Council is making an effort to keep VRUs safer on American roadways.
Focus on VRUs
The NSC is focusing on three initiatives:
- Advocating for infrastructure and policies that reduce points of conflict
- Collaborating with the roadway safety community to change the culture from one of acceptance of roadway deaths
- Confronting safety issues with vehicle designs
The NSC has assembled a collection of people from government, the private sector, non-profit organizations and academia to provide advice to the NSC Roadway Safety Practice as it works to develop strategies and tactics to address these initiatives.
How to stay safe when not in a vehicle
If you are walking or cycling on a roadway or attending to a broken down or wrecked vehicle, it is important to take steps to ensure your safety:
- Follow the rules of the road
- Walk on sidewalks and bike in bike lanes when available
- When walking without a sidewalk, walk facing traffic
- Stay as far away from vehicles as possible
- Cross at crosswalks or intersections
- Look for vehicles entering or exiting driveways or backing up in parking lots
Avoid walking, cycling or otherwise being on the roadway when you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
American roadways can be a particularly dangerous place for people who are not in a vehicle. The NSC is working to improve the safety of VRUs, but it is still important to take steps to protect yourself from negligent vehicle drivers.