When you think about the collisions that happen involving cyclists, what do you imagine? Do you see a cyclist in traffic? Do you see drivers cutting them off or trying to get around them despite the risk of doing so?
How would the world be different if what you imagined was actually separate bike lanes or bridges just for pedestrians? That’s the importance of infrastructure. Good infrastructure considers elements that may lead to collisions or accidents and takes steps to reduce the likelihood of them in the future.
The World Health Organization states that around 1.25 million people around the world die because of road traffic collisions. Changing infrastructure could make a major difference and help reduce the number of people involved in these devastating collisions.
How does improving infrastructure help?
The roadways in America are unique. Some were developed considering the need for carriages or horses. Others were developed for large trucks or with casual drivers in mind. Too often, decisions about infrastructure don’t include safety matters involving pedestrians or cyclists.
So, what is the solution to the problem? It’s designing new infrastructure that directly improves safety. Some important adaptations to infrastructure may include:
- Sidewalks and crosswalks for pedestrians that indicate pedestrian right-of-way access
- Introducing overpasses and underpasses in dangerous areas
- Adding on motorcycle and bicycle lanes
- Adding rumble strips, signage and other roadside warnings to keep drivers in their lanes
- Installing roundabouts instead of intersections, which reduce the speeds at which drivers enter
- Restricting speed and traffic in residential, school or commercial areas
It might seem like it would be a lot of work to improve infrastructure across the U.S., and it will be. However, the benefit of changing the states’ infrastructure is immense. Infrastructure design makes a big difference in how people travel and the danger they’re in when they use the roadways. Even though it may take time to address dangerous intersections or changes to roadways, doing so can help states reach their goals to reduce pedestrian and cyclist fatalities and injuries.
Better infrastructure may be a goal for the future, but that doesn’t help people now. If you’re involved in a crash, remember that you can take steps to report the incident and seek compensation.