Florida Strategic Highway Safety Plan
Proven Strategies and Countermeasures
Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety
The key ways to improve pedestrian safety include the following:
1) Reduce vehicle speed, which allows pedestrians and drivers more time to react and reduces
impact forces if crashes do occur;
2) Reduce exposure to known risky situations through behavioral and environmental
3) Increase enforcement of pedestrian-friendly laws.
Several strategies to improve bicycle safety include the following:
1) Increase the use of properly fitted bicycle helmets by all bicyclists, including children and
adults, and the enforcement of helmet laws to increase compliance;
2) Increase the conspicuity of bicyclists;
3) Reduce distracted riding or driving behaviors (cell phones, headphones, etc.); and
4) Decrease riding or driving while impaired.
For pedestrian and bicyclist countermeasures, tailor the programs to diverse populations, including
groups such as recent immigrants who may not be familiar with United States traffic laws or the traffic
environment, or may not speak or read English. Countermeasures should also address particular
problems identified within communities or common to a target group.
School Pedestrian Training for Children
Elementary school pedestrian training provides children (ages 6 to 12) knowledge and practice to
enable them to walk safely in environments with traffic and other safety hazards. To measurably
reduce deaths and injuries, the training program must be broadly implemented across the state and
include an implementation plan which considers a mass media communications effort (1).
The effect of this countermeasure is an estimated 12% reduction in child pedestrian injuries (2).
Effectiveness of school-based child pedestrian training would likely be enhanced if it combined child training with
emphasis to teachers, parents, and other caregivers on the limits of children (particularly for those younger than
10) and the need for careful supervision, and on-going safety training and reinforcement of safe behaviors (1).
Reduced Speed Limits
Higher vehicle speeds produce more frequent and more serious pedestrian crashes and casualties.
Reducing speeds increases reaction time for both drivers and pedestrians to avoid crashes, and reduces
the severity of pedestrian injuries that result when crashes occur. Speed limit reductions can be most
effective when introduced to a limited area as part of a visible area-wide change, for example,
identifying a downtown area as a special pedestrian-friendly zone through signs, new landscaping or
“streetscaping”, lighting, etc. (1).
A reduction of 25-30 percent in pedestrian fatalities, for pedestrians of all ages, in urban areas with speed limits
between 35mph and 40 mph is associated with a reduction in speed limit from 60km/h to 50 km/h. The primary
target of this European study was pedestrians in urban areas with a speed limit of 60 km/h (2).
Pedestrian Safety Zones
Pedestrian safety zones increase efficiency by targeting limited resources to geographic areas and
audiences where significant portions of the pedestrian crash problem exist. Pedestrian zone programs,
which include education, enforcement, and engineering measures, target pedestrian crash problems
within a limited geographic area or focus on particular types of problems that make up a large portion
of the problem within a limited area (1).
Properly designed and implemented pedestrian zone programs are effective in reducing crashes and injuries for
older pedestrians, for impaired pedestrians, and for child and adult pedestrian crashes (2).
Bicycle Helmet Laws for Children
The purpose of bicycle helmet laws for children is to reduce the number of severe and fatal head
injuries to children involved in bicycle crashes. Bicycle helmets reduce head injuries and fatalities when
used properly. A helmet use law is a significant tool in increasing helmet use, but its effectiveness is
related to implementation. Legislation effectiveness is enhanced when combined with supportive
publicity and education campaigns (1).
The effect of bicycle helmet law for children is an estimated 15% reduction in fatalities for children under 12 (1).
Child Bicycle Helmet Promotions
Studies of helmet use promoted using helmet subsidies has shown an increase in helmet use and
decrease the incidence of bicycle injuries. While all studies were based on high-quality community
programs, no crash or injury reduction calculations are available for this proven countermeasure (2).
Median and Pedestrian Refuge Areas
Median and Pedestrian Refuge Areas provide additional protection for pedestrians and lessen risk of
exposure to oncoming traffic. The cost is low for retrofit improvement and even lower for new
roadway projects. Pedestrian fatalities account for approximately 700 deaths or 17 percent of all
fatalities in California (3).
Providing raised medians or pedestrian refuge areas resulted in a 46 percent reduction in pedestrian crashes in
the state. Raised medians or refuge areas are especially important at multi-lane intersections with high volumes of
There should be pathways, sidewalks, or paved shoulders wherever possible, especially in urban areas
and near school zones where there are high volumes of bikes and pedestrians. The cost is medium to
high based on the amount of type of application. “Walking along road” pedestrian crashes are
approximately 7.5 percent of all pedestrian crashes. The presence of a path, sidewalk, or paved
shoulder can provide a significant reduction in “walking along road” pedestrian crashes (3).
Following are the reductions in “walking along the road” crashes with various types of improvements (3).
“Walking Along the
Road” Pedestrian All Types of Crashes
Sidewalks or Pathways on Both
Sides of a Street
(min 4 ft) – Paved – All Roads
(min 4 ft) – Paved – Rural Roads
(min 4 ft) – Unpaved – Rural Roads
Active Lighting and Rider Conspicuity
A common contributing factor for crashes involving bicyclists in the roadway is the failure of the driver
to notice the bicyclist, particularly at night. Improving bicyclist conspicuity is intended to make
bicyclists more visible to motorists and to allow motorists more opportunity to see and avoid collisions
with bicyclists (1).
(1) National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Countermeasures That Work: A Highway Safety
Countermeasure Guide for State Highway Safety Offices, Sixth Edition, 2011. Washington, D.C.: U.S.
Department of Transportation. 2011.
(2) National Cooperative Highway Research Program. NCHRP Report 622: Effectiveness of Behavioral
Highway Safety Countermeasures. NCHRP, Washington, D.C. 2008
(3) Nine Proven Safety Countermeasures. Federal Highway Administration, Office of Safety,
Washington, DC, 2009.