Bicycle Colorado awarded competitive Innovation Grant by Road to Zero Coalition
Last Tuesday, Bicycle Colorado was named one of eight recipients of the competitive, national Road to Zero Innovation Grants.
The grant will allow us to increase our Bicycle-Friendly Driver and Confident Commuting programming around the state, with the goal of making our streets safer for bicyclists and all road users.
“Prioritizing safety means thinking about things in new ways,” said Debbie Hersman, President and CEO of the National Safety Council, before announcing the grant recipients. Through our Bicycle-Friendly Driver and Confident Commuting courses, the NSC believes we’re doing just that.
The Road to Zero Coalition awards the Innovation Grant to organizations with unique approaches to make roadways safer and eliminate preventable roadway deaths. (For the full list of Innovation Grant awardees, click here. Grant applications were rated by officials at the Department of Transportation and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.) Our award allows us to work in 26 communities around the state—from Glenwood Springs to Sterling, Pagosa Springs to Colorado Springs and many more in between—educating both drivers and bicyclists on how to effectively share the road, and on how to get around safely and confidently by bike.
Click on the map below to see the full list of Colorado cities and counties where we will be working. These 26 jurisdictions are home to approximately 45% of Colorado’s population and through effective implementation of our programming we hope to reach as many of those people as possible.
Where we’ll be working with our Innovation Grant funding
- Adams County
- Arapahoe County
- Colorado Springs
- Douglas County
- Glenwood Springs
- Jefferson County
- Lone Tree
- Pagosa Springs
- South Suburban Parks & Recreation
Crash, injury and fatality data show that the United States’ transportation system has been getting more dangerous, not safer, in recent years. Bicyclists are particularly vulnerable roadway users: nationally in 2015, bicyclists experienced 45,000 injuries and 818 fatalities on the road. In 2016, there were 840 bicyclist fatalities. The Governors Highway Safety Association reports that, year over year, bicyclists have accounted for at least 2% of all roadway fatalities and that an average of 55 additional bicyclists have died each year since 2011.
Colorado is no exception to these statistics, but despite them there remains a lack of education for motorists around sharing the road with bicycles and navigating bicycle infrastructure. That’s why we thought Bicycle-Friendly Driver and Confident Commuting programming would be a good match for the Innovation Grant. Participants in each course are encouraged to think of all road users as people, not just bikes or cars. We are all people sharing the road and must put each other’s safety first.
Our Innovation Grant funding will allow us to hire a full-time employee who will work directly with the 26 communities covered in the grant. The new employee will tailor curriculum to individual cities and counties by researching a given jurisdiction’s infrastructure, analyzing crash reports, discovering how certain situations could have been avoided and using resources like master plans to assess a community’s priorities.
About the programming
Education is a proven countermeasure and form of intervention in influencing human behavior, and our goal is for each community to receive an average of three trainings based on their priorities.
Our Bicycle-Friendly Driver program is directly modeled on the successful course created and led by The City of Fort Collins FC Bikes (FC Bikes). Since launching their program in late 2015, FC Bikes has certified 3,500 drivers in Northern Colorado including fleet drivers, city staff, high schoolers and the general public. They have shared their curriculum with 44 states and three countries.
The Bicycle-Friendly Driver course is a one-to-two-hour, in-person class educating drivers on the best and safest ways to share the road with people on bikes through discussions on crash data, legal and illegal behavior of both drivers and bicyclists and how to navigate on-street infrastructure. The course concludes with an exam and evaluation, and those who pass receive a Bicycle-Friendly Driver certificate and vehicle window sticker.
After becoming certified herself, Bicycle Colorado’s education program manager along with our development director began discussions with FC Bikes about how Bicycle Colorado could help spread the program statewide. We started by certifying our staff in a course led by the developers of the program, Jamie Gaskill-Fox, FC Bikes Program Specialist and Bicycle Ambassador, Scott Sampl.
“While educating bicyclists is an essential part of the overall safety picture and is still a component of this application, many motor vehicle drivers are often not reached through these bicyclist-focused programs. The Bicycle-Friendly Driver program was developed to fill this gap in road user safety education,” said Jamie Gaskill-Fox in her letter of support for our grant application.
“Bicycle Colorado has the opportunity to advance these goals by helping the Bicycle-Friendly Driver Program and bicyclist education reach the rest of the state, starting with the municipalities identified in their application,” she continued.
Evaluations of FC Bikes’ Bicycle-Friendly Driver course demonstrated that over 50% of participants felt more confident about riding a bicycle after the program. The course also allowed FC Bikes to reach 10.3% more “No Way No How” riders who do not have the perspective of a bicyclist and can greatly benefit from this driver education. We look forward to similarly increasing riders’ confidence and reaching a wider audience of non-bicyclists through Bicycle-Friendly Drivers.
While Bicycle-Friendly Driver courses help drivers be safer on the road, bicyclists play an important role in safety as well. Our Confident Commuting course will teach existing and prospective bicycle commuters rules of the road. We’ll equip them with knowledge about being visible, predictable and have the skills to more safely navigate streets alongside cars.
About the Road to Zero Initiative
In 2016, The National Safety Council, in partnership with the Federal Highway Administration, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, announced in the Road to Zero initiative with the purpose to eliminate roadway fatalities by 2050.
The Road to Zero Initiative believes that zero roadway deaths is attainable based on these fundamental principles:
Roadway fatalities are preventable.
A future with zero roadway deaths is more attainable than ever. The emergence of advanced driver assistance systems and the promise of self-driving cars, together with evidence-based roadway and behavioral interventions, offer the potential for dramatic safety improvements.
Safe systems promote safe infrastructure, roadway users, vehicles and a focus on strengthening safety culture.