Vision Zero

Our goal is to have zero deaths or life-altering injuries due to roadway design or user error in San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties.

Vision Zero began in 1997 in Sweden when the Parliament introduced a policy aimed to eliminate deaths and major injuries on their roads by 2020, with accompanying strategies. Vision Zero is the idea that every traffic collision is preventable, whether through engineering, education or enforcement. Since 1997, Sweden has been able to reduce their traffic fatalities by about 50%.

Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition (SVBC) has always believed that safety is a key issue for people biking. Numerous studies show that there are four types of people biking: strong and fearless, enthused and confident, and interested but concerned, and no way, no how. It is typically the “interested but concerned” group that is the largest, and it is those people we must target when thinking of building infrastructure that will attract them to try riding a bike or creating new policies to support bicycling. The Office of Traffic Safety showed that there were 256 pedestrians injured or killed and 244 bicyclists injured or killed in San Mateo County in 2012; and 577 pedestrians injured or killed and 746 bicyclists injured or killed in Santa Clara County in 2012. However, studies show the injury rate to people biking decreases as rates of bicycling increases. Bicycling isn’t inherently more dangerous than driving or walking, but it is that perception that needs to be addressed.

In 2011, SVBC co-hosted a safety summit with Stanford Healthcare, who was concerned about the high rate of bicyclists who came into the trauma center with fatal or life-threatening injuries. Out of this meeting the Roadway Safety Solutions Team (RSST) was born, a coalition of diverse stakeholders with the purpose of overcoming the challenges of the multijurisdictional nature of Silicon Valley, helping to coordinate efforts between cities, and minimizing roadway user confusion. Since then, the RSST has been working on various projects focused on infrastructure, education and behavior, and enforcement to help further these goals.

In recent years, Vision Zero has gained momentum around the United States, with New York City and San Francisco adopting Vision Zero plans in 2014. In 2015, the United State Department of Transportation issued the Mayor’s Challenge for Safer People, Safer Streets, challenging cities to address safety concerns on their roadways. Shortly after, the Vision Zero Act of 2015 was introduced in Congress, which would provide funding to cities that adopted a Vision Zero plan.


Current programs:
The Commercial Vehicle Driver Training, offered by Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition to companies that utilize professional drivers for employee alternative transportation, provides information on best practices for driving large commercial vehicles when sharing the road with bicycles and pedestrians. We cover bicycling rules of the road, common causes of bicycle/vehicle/pedestrian conflict, anticipated bicyclist behavior in various situations, Bay Area-specific cases, and maneuvering skills for optimum predictability and collision prevention. This training is designed to improve safety and comfort for all users of the road.

Current campaigns


Recent News

Vision Zero Toolkit to debut at Silicon Valley Bike Summit

On August 26, attendees to the Silicon Valley Bike Summit will get to hear the debut of our Vision Zero Toolkit, in collaboration with California Walks, and take home a copy to help them implement this important program in their communities. SVBC has been working...

Announcing Silicon Valley Bike Summit 2015

Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition is excited to announce our Fifth Annual Silicon Valley Bike Summit, with co-host and presenting sponsor, Stanford Health Care. The annual summit is the region’s largest gathering of active transportation leaders and organizers from...

San Jose announces Vision Zero program

Last Monday, May 4, the City of San José announced it is refocusing its annual traffic safety report and moving forward with a Vision Zero plan (PDF). The plan, signed on to by Department of Transportation Director Hans Larsen, Chief of Police Larry Esquivel, and...

State legislation update

Last week was California Bike Advocacy Day and I joined advocates from around the state to meet with your state assemblymembers and senators in Sacramento. We started the trip by getting briefed by California Bicycle Coalition on the important asks: Increase the...

Vision Zero proposed for San Jose

I had the pleasure of attending San Jose’s Rules and Open Government Committee meeting yesterday, during which members of the City Council moved forward a proposal from Councilmember Pierluigi Oliverio to formally implement a Vision Zero initiative. SVBC has...

San Mateo passes precedent-setting Sustainable Streets Plan

At Tuesday night’s City Council meeting in San Mateo, the passage of the city’s Sustainable Streets Plan was so inevitable that it wasn’t even pulled from the consent calendar. The Council voted unanimously to pass this plan which includes many...

Mayors’ Challenge for Bicyclist and Pedestrian Safety

On January 22nd, U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary, Anthony Foxx issued a challenge to mayors and local elected officials to improve safety for bicycle riders and pedestrians of all ages and abilities. As SVBC has been working on our Vision Zero initiative...

California Legislative Update: Protected Bike Lanes for All!

Well, the legislative session came to an end on September 30, the last chance for Governor Jerry Brown to sign or veto bills that the legislature had passed. Here is a rundown of the action by Governor Brown on bills that we supported: Yay! AB 1193, Protected Bikeways...

New California “3 Feet for Safety” law effective September 16th

Last September, the State of California joined other states by approving AB 1371, the 3-feet passing law which requires all motorists to give bicyclists 3 feet of space when passing them. This law goes into effect September 16th of this year. SVBC, alongside our...

SVBC collaborative receives Stanford Community Partnership Award

SVBC was honored on Friday to receive a Stanford Community Partnership Award for our work on the Roadway Safety Solutions Team, a part of our Vision Zero Initiative to eliminate deaths and major injuries on San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties’ roadways. SVBC...

SVBC goes to Sacramento

Full bike racks in front of the state capitol building! California Bicycle Coalition Executive Director Dave Snyder pleased to see the California Department of Transportation repping bike month. May 21, 2014 marked the day after the conclusion of Climate Ride, as well...