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INTRODUCTORY SECTION

THE AUTHORS

Bruce Burgess. Bruce is the cofounder and partner of a Richmond, Virginia, architectural firm ARCHIMEDIA. He is past president of one of the more active bicycling clubs in America, the Richmond Area Bicycling Association (RABA). Bruce is the director of the 1977 GEAR (Great Eastern Area Rally) which was run for more than 1,600 bicyclists over a four-day period. For the past two years Bruce has served as the Coastal Regional Director of the League of American Wheelmen, a national bicycling organization interested in bike safety, legislation, and promotion. In writing this report, Bruce has drawn upon his work in helping with the design of the TransAmerica Trail through Virginia, his development of 40 illustrated bike maps, his participation in leadership training courses, and his experience as a leader of 8 group members on a Bikecentennial tour through Virginia. Bruce has been active in bicycling for the past 12 years and lives in Richmond with his wife Beth and two children.

Dan Burden. Dan and his wife Lys are the founders of Bikecentennial. For the past 3 years Dan has served as the executive director of Bikecentennial and has been active in the design of the trail, the leadership courses, and directing the event. During this period he has worked closely with state, regional, and federal agency officials, law enforcement officers, and educators. Dan has taught six bicycling courses through the University of Montana and has written numerous articles on bicycling for major U.S. magazines. He is the founder of the Hemistour Expedition (see May 1973 National Geographic), and rode the first 9,600 miles through North America. Dan has been active in bicycling for 15 years and lives with his wife Lys and daughter Jodi in Missoula, Montana.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

The report phase of this study was funded through the Office of Driver and Pedestrian Programs of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. All other contributions, including the design and execution of the actual survey, were performed through the generosity of the following men and women: Ed Kearney, Executive Director of the National Committee on Uniform Traffic Laws & Ordinances; Gerald J. Driessen, Manager of the Research Department, National Safety Council; Jerry Kaplan, Federal Highway Administration; Bill Wilkinson, Office of Environmental Affairs, U.S. Department of Transportation; C. Fred Imhof, Safety Consultant, Pasadena, California; Slade Gorton, Attorney General, State of Washington; Ken Dilling, Mutual Security Life Insurance of Fort Wayne, Indiana. Technical assistance was lent by: Ed Von Borstel, Matthew Cohn, Dan McIntyre, and Greg Siple, editing and layout; Mike Gauthier, CPA, and Don Morton, CPA, computer programming; Carol Gauthier, Johanna van Zee, Carla Majernik, and June Siple, keypunching; Dr. David C.Heinze, statistician; Pam Parrott, tabulations; George Kennedy, AIA, analysis.

A very special note of thanks is extended to Katie Moran and Larry Pavlinski of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for their continuous support and encouragement during the report writing of this study. Their care and concern for bicycle safety extends far beyond their job responsibilities and has served as an important inspiration to the writers of this report.

BRIEF BACKGROUND

"A revolution in bicycling has taken place since about 1968; adults have replaced children as the prime users of bikes. Adults' interest in physical fitness, escape from total dependence on fuel-consuming, polluting automobiles, and improvements in bicycles are given as the main reasons for this change." -Christian Science Monitor, 12/22/76.

Whatever the reason, adult use of the bicycle has grown at a dramatic rate, and the new mix of autos and bikes on highways designed for the former vehicle results in an estimated 500,000 to 1,000,000 accidents each year. Adults are involved in roughly half of the total accidents and a fair percentage of the 1,000 fatalities each year (51%).

This is the first report of reliable data from a known bicycling audience with time and mileage of exposure carefully documented. Although these Bikecentennial tour riders are in general more knowledgeable and sophisticated in their riding than most bicyclists (3.5 years riding experience), they provide us with an important key to where the activity is heading and some measures to reduce the number of accidents for all bicyclist including children.

One thing is certain, for the next several decades the bicycle is not likely to go away. The pattern indicates increased use, with growing competition on busy highways. Many countries in Europe made a smooth transition when the auto was first introduced, and can report a very low rate of accidents. We have not been so lucky. Although bicyclists lobbied for the first paved roadways in America, the bicyclists yielded to autos at the turn of the century and are only now making a significant comeback.

Highway design and behavior patterns cannot be changed overnight. We must do all we can to facilitate this transition.

LIMITATIONS OF APPLICATION

The scope of this report is limited to shared highway use--more specifically, shared use of lightly traveled highways where traffic counts are between 200-1000 Average Daily Traffic Count (ADT). The sample studied included cyclists from 7 to 86 years of age who were engaged in the sport of bikepacking (loaded bicycles) and cycle touring. The experience of the riders ranged from those with 10-15 adult riding years to others with only a few days' or weeks' experience.

Although the activities of the Bikecentennial participants did not involve commuting via bicycle, it did involve activities that were very closely related to utility cycling (trips to the market, etc.). Therefore many of the principles of bicycling (skills, road hazards, laws, traffic mix) examined in our study are relevant to commuters and urban recreational bicyclists.

However, almost all of the participating cyclists were exposed to small group techniques that involved group safety procedures and guidance from a trained leader. When riding on the TransAmerica Trail, the riders were in an environment that had been predetermined and selected for its low hazard potential. Therefore, the results of this study might not be as directly applicable to bicyclists outside of these influences.


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