SafeTREC/ITS Seminar Jan 30: Safety in Numbers for Walkers and Bicyclists. Why?

January 21, 2015

SafeTREC / ITS Seminar

Safety in Numbers for Walkers and Bicyclists. Why?

Peter L. Jacobsen
Public Health Consultant

Friday, January 30, 2015
4:00 pm -5:00 pm
(Cookies and Coffee at 3:30 pm)
290 Hearst Memorial Mining Building
UC Berkeley

Peter L. Jacobsen is a professional engineer with a strong interest in the health impacts of transportation policy. His published work ranges from injury prevention to activity promotion. He wrote an article for ITE Journal explaining to traffic engineers why the physiology of young children prevents them from coping with the dangers of traffic and hence we need to adapt residential streets to the needs of children. His influential article, "Safety in Numbers," showed that the risk of pedestrians and bicyclists being hit by a motorist decreases as more people walk and bicycle, and hence the health goals of injury prevention and activity promotion can work together to improve health. His current efforts bring state-of-the-art roadway engineering to improve health by encouraging physical activity and reducing severe injuries.

ABSTRACT: You are safer when walking or bicycling in areas or time periods where more people walk or bicycle. This surprising result deserves explanation. What changes? Does the motorist's behavior change around more people walking or bicycling? Does the walker's or bicyclist's behavior change? Or is the roadway environment safer where more people walk or bicycle? Or vice versa?We will explore the evidence that addresses these questions. Changes in injury risk over time periods provides some clues. Observations from psychology give some additional insight. We will end the talk with a discussion of what these findings might mean for public policy and road design.