Roanoke, VA., October 16, 2014 – RIDE Solutions and the Blue Ridge Transportation Safety Board today announced two new bicycle initiatives that they hope will improve road safety for all vehicles in the Roanoke region.
Roanoke County Chief of Police Howard Hall, chair of the Blue Ridge Transportation Safety Board, announced a bicycle safety video produced by Roanoke Valley Television with the cooperation of law enforcement form Roanoke County, Roanoke City, the Blue Ridge Parkway, and a number of local cyclists. The video provides detailed information on the specifics of Virginia law on everything from group rides, to the state’s new three-foot passing law, to what driver’s might expect from the region’s growing number of commuter and other utilitarian cyclists. Quietly launched a little over a week ago, the video has already been viewed over 500 times online and has received positive attention from the Virginia Bicycling Federation and advocates across the state.
Chief Hall stated, “As an educational tool, we want as many people as possible to see it, so the Blue Ridge Transportation Safety Board and RIDE Solutions are making copies available to any organization, school, business, safety group, or local government that would like to screen it, and we invite organizations to contact RIDE Solutions for information on additional safety training and workshop opportunities.”
The video will be shown continuously on RVTV Channel 3 and can be found online at the RIDE Solutions website.
In addition, RIDE Solutions Program Director Jeremy Holmes announced the launch of a new data gathering tool that will allow cyclists, drivers and pedestrians to report unsafe road conditions and dangerous interactions will vehicles.
Says Holmes, “In our work with law enforcement, we’ve come to understand that one of the biggest barriers to safety is simply knowing when unsafe situations occur. All too often, there is simply not enough information for law enforcement to investigate an aggressive driving complaint, or even to determine if a situation that might seem like aggressive driving might actually be the result of poor road conditions or other infrastructure issues. In short, both law enforcement and transportation planners need more data to help identify opportunities to make our roads safer. This tool will address that lack of data.”
The new Incident Reporting Tool, available online at www.ridesolutions.org/report, allows both cyclists and drivers to report a range of unsafe encounters, from aggressive or abusive driving, to violations of the three foot passing law, to dangerous group bicycle rides, greenway accidents, and even road conditions that might contribute to crashes or conflicts between automobiles and bicycles. The tool, which is accessed through a RIDE Solutions online account to reduce the opportunity for abuse, captures geographic, time of day, weather, and other information that can help RIDE Solutions work with law enforcement and local traffic departments to identify opportunities to improve. For example, by analyzing data over time we may be able to determine that what seems to be multiple incidents of vehicles buzzing cyclists might really be caused by one impatient morning commuter, or that a popular bike route may be following a road that is too narrow or has poor sight lines, creating conflicts between vehicles that are not the fault of automobile or cyclist. Identifying patterns over time will eventually allow law enforcement to develop targeted enforcement and educational efforts, and can provide valuable information to planners and traffic engineers to make the roads more accommodating for bicycles and cars. Over the long term, this data will help identify new routes and new opportunities to place bicycling infrastructure so that we continue to meet the growing mobility needs of every citizen in the Roanoke Valley.
Both RIDE Solutions and the Blue Ridge Transportation Safety Board emphasized that these initiatives are only part of an ongoing safety effort. Both organizations are committed to making the roads safer for everyone in the Roanoke Valley.