Vision Zero

Click here to download our brand new Vision Zero Toolkit, released August 2015!

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.

Click here to donate in support of our Vision Zero initiative.

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

Support studying Vision Zero in Sunnyvale

Thanks to bike advocate and Sunnyvale BPAC member Kevin Jackson for sharing this call to action with the SVBC community. SVBC submitted a letter (PDF) to the Sunnyvale City Council about the proposed Vision Zero study issue last week.

You probably know about the Vision Zero program, but if not you can read about it here. An obvious question is: Why would anyone be against this? Beats me, but in Sunnyvale a proposal to study developing a Vision Zero plan needs council’s vote of approval in a workshop this Friday. Some in the city don’t see the value in a Vision Zero program, so I’m asking for your help to make it happen.

Page Mill/280 Interim Improvement Process

In the six weeks since cyclist Jeff Donnelly was fatally struck by a vehicle on Page Mill Road near Highway 280, staffers at all the involved agencies have been working to improve, fund, and construct an interim design solution that will boost safety in the short term. SVBC has proposed a forum intended to gather public input and come to consensus on a design. The County Roads and Airports Department would prefer to first meet with technical staff from Palo Alto, Los Altos Hills, Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) and Caltrans, then bring a more fleshed-out design to local cyclists for input. In any case, finding the money necessary for detailed design and construction is first on the to-do list.

Pipeline Organizers Coordinate with Cycling Clubs for Safety

This post was contributed by former SVBC Board Member Ted Huang and Roadway Safety Solutions Team co-leader Cindy Welton. We just want to share a positive community / bicycle collaboration that really epitomizes “Give a Little”, a local initiative, and the power of being connected and pro-active. The Town of Portola Valley, where thousands of people bike through on any given day of the week, is undergoing a lengthy and extensive pipeline project along the Portola Rd. corridor between Sand Hill and Alpine Road. The Civil Engineer working on the project emailed a one-pager on the project to Cindy Welton, leader of the Roadway Safety Solutions Team asking her to distribute it to her network of cycling team leaders. The Preston Pipelines safety manager, “Bill,” followed up with a call to express concern for keeping cyclists safe during the project. Bill wanted to learn more about what to expect and how to best handle the large group that rides through the corridor around noon. Cindy connected Bill to Ted for advice. The Safety Manager wanted to figure out exactly what time the ride would come through so he could have his flagging crew stop traffic to allow the ride through unimpeded. Bill even had visions of someone from the ride figuring some way to call him when the group reached the corner of Alpine and Portola so that they’d know more exactly how long it would take for the group to reach their work area. Ted told him that wasn’t feasible. While trying to keep the group moving is commendable, he told Bill that having the ride stop, especially...

Advancing Vision Zero

As many know, SVBC and California Walks debuted our Vision Zero Toolkit at the Silicon Valley Bike Summit in August. Since then, we’ve been spreading the good word to various city councils, Bike and Pedestrian Committees (BPACs), and other important groups. See below for a rundown of the presentations we’ve done so far. Next Wednesday, December 2 we are excited to present with California Walks on Vision Zero and safety on El Camino Real at the Grand Boulevard Initiative Task Force, a body of elected officials from all the jurisdictions that include El Camino Real. This is important because in Santa Clara County, El Camino Real is only 0.5% of streets yet has 6% of bicycle collisions; in San Mateo County, El Camino Real is only 1% of streets and has 13.8% of bicycle collisions. People are using El Camino Real to bike to work, school, shopping, and other destinations, and it needs to be safe for them. We are looking forward to a robust conversation about street safety with the leaders on the Task Force. Upcoming presentations of the Vision Zero Toolkit: December 2: Grand Boulevard Initiative Task Force January 19, 2016: Morgan Hill Parks and Recreation Commission February 18, 2016: Leadership Palo Alto TBD: South San Francisco Planning Commission and BPAC, Mountain View BPAC, and Cupertino Bike Commission Past presentations: May 3: Silicon Valley Bikes! Festival July 27: Grand Boulevard Initiative Working Committee August 20: Sunnyvale BPAC September 9: Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) BPAC September 21: Grand Boulevard Initiative Community Leaders Roundtable October 14: SPUR panel in San Jose October 22: San Mateo County’s City and County...

Update on Page Mill/280

As many of you know, last week a bicyclist was killed on Page Mill Road near the interchange with Highway 280. This was especially tragic given that SVBC has been working with the various stakeholders (Caltrans, County of Santa Clara, City of Palo Alto, and Town of Los Altos Hills) over several years to make this interchange safer.

In 2014, our Roadway Safety Solutions Team visited the site with engineers and staff from the respective jurisdictions to analyze the site and offer solutions. As Colin mentioned in our previous blog post, there is currently a phased plan on the table. The first stage or “interim” plan requires approval by Caltrans and includes more visible delineation and green paint, similar to nearby Alpine Road at Highway 280. We are currently in conversation with Caltrans and the County of Santa Clara to figure out where the funding for this plan comes from and how to move it forward as quickly as possible.

Fatality at Page Mill Interchange

Yesterday, we learned that a bicyclist was struck by a driver and killed on Page Mill Road, in Palo Alto near the Highway 280 overpass. Our hearts go out to the friends and family of the victim of this tragic collision.

Unfortunately, this is an intersection that Silicon Valley bicyclists know all too well. For over a decade, advocates, including SVBC and the Roadway Safety Solutions Team, have been working to get the area improved for the safety of bicyclists and pedestrians.

Questions for Redwood City Council Candidates

Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition is a 501c3 non-profit organization and is permitted to educate our members about where candidates for public office stand on our issues. We are not permitted to endorse candidates. Questions were developed with the SVBC San Mateo County Local Team. We emailed all the known candidates for Redwood City City Council and received responses from the following: Alicia Aguirre, Ian Bain, Janet Borgens, Rosanne Foust, Shelly Masur, and Tania Sole. Candidates’ responses are listed in alphabetical order following each question. 1. Should bicyclists be accommodated on El Camino Real through your city? If so, how should the roadway be designed to accommodate them? Alicia Aguirre: Bicyclists [should be accommodated] on El Camino and throughout our City. Unfortunately, not all streets, even El Camino are wide enough. My main concern is safety. We have restriped many streets and are in the process of adding more for bicyclists. Sharing the road with automobiles is a good option, as long as it is safe for all. Ian Bain: I have supported the expansion of bike lanes throughout the city, however, I’m not sure about El Camino. The road is very congested, even during non-peak times, so I’m not sure how well that would work. I will be watching Menlo Park very closely to see how their proposal plays out. Janet Borgens: El Camino is heavily traveled by cars and buses. When I bike El Camino I feel much safer when there is a designated bike lane. As we move towards the Grand Boulevard discussion we should look at opportunities that would accommodate both public transportation, cars and bicycles...

Questions for Belmont City Council Candidates

Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition is a 501c3 non-profit organization and is permitted to educate our members about where candidates for public office stand on our issues. We are not permitted to endorse candidates. Questions were developed with the SVBC San Mateo County Local Team. We emailed all the known candidates for Belmont City Council and received responses from Davina Hurt and Dwight Looi. The candidate’s responses are listed following each question. 1. Should bicyclists be accommodated on El Camino Real through your city? If so, how should the roadway be designed to accommodate them? Davina Hurt: Several modes of transportation should be accommodated and supported on El Camino Real. We can look to cities with successful bike programs to see how they have implemented a complete streets application. Personally, I have heard from many bicyclists that protected lanes whether by barriers or clearly outlined on the street surface are needed for safe passage. Close attention needs to be made to retrofitting, signage, and intersections. All in all, the roadway needs to be such that safety is integrated into the design and it is a pleasurable experience that will insight more and more people to get out of their cars for a better and healthier environment. Dwight Looi: Given the small number of bicyclists, I do not believe that it is wise to have a dedicated lane for bicycles. This will take away from flow capacity for cars and exacerbate congestion. 2. A generation ago, half of schoolchildren walked or biked to school. Now, only 15% do. Meanwhile obesity and chronic disease linked to inactivity are soaring. How can your...

Your Unanswered Questions From the Silicon Valley Bike Summit

Share Tweet You may recall the rousing plenary discussion at the 5th Annual Silicon Valley Bicycle Summit between our Executive Director, Shiloh Ballard; head of VTA, Nuria Fernandez; and head of San Mateo County Transit District, Jim Hartnett. We had so many excellent audience questions that we couldn’t get to them all and so we promised to follow up with our speakers and have those questioned answered for you, our dear audience. So without further delay, here are the answers from: Mark Simon, Senior Advisor/Strategic Initiatives, San Mateo County Transit District Nuria Fernandez, General Manager and CEO of Valley Transportation Authority How are your agencies addressing questions of equity (economic, racial, modal) in transportation and transit? How can we actively engage low-income communities in improving access to safe bicycling and transit? MS: We are required by law, ADA and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, to operate both our systems within federal guidelines for social, racial and economic justice. Any change in service or fares triggers a Title VI review and public meetings that include multi-lingual outreach and information that includes targeting low-income and minority communities. SamTrans carries significant numbers of low-income customers – 67 percent don’t have a car, 41 percent have a household income below $25,000. Most take the bus to work or school. As you might expect, these numbers are substantially different for Caltrain, but for both systems, we have an extensive discount program for low-income, senior and student customers. Encouraging cycling – as you know we provide more bike space on our trains than any system in the country and cyclists can bring their...

State Legislative Roundup

By SVBC Policy Manager Emma Shlaes You may remember back in April, when I went to Sacramento to speak to our Assembly members and State Senators about important bills that would improve the bicycling experience in California. That day, SVBC joined advocates from around the state, and California Bicycle Coalition, to speak with lawmakers about several bills and increasing the amount of funding for the Active Transportation Program. While the budget is still being hashed out with the extraordinary session and Governor Jerry Brown, we can report on the progress of the bills. Assembly Bill 902, Bicycle Diversion Programs: This bill will enable bicyclists ticketed for moving violations to participate in bicycle education classes and have their fines reduced. This is a priority of the Roadway Safety Solutions Team. Passed and signed on September 21. Assembly Bill 8, Emergency services: hit-and-run incidents: This bill allows law enforcement to issue a Yellow Alert, similar to an Amber Alert, when a person has been killed or severely injured by a hit-and-run and there is information related to the vehicle. These alerts will be limited to the geographic area of the collision.Passed and signed on September 28. Assembly Bill 40, Prohibit Bridge Tolling of Bicyclists and Pedestrians: This bill prohibits tolls for walking and bicycling on state-owned bridges, including the Golden Gate Bridge, in order to not deter people from taking trips by bike or foot.On Governor’s desk. Assembly Bill 1096, Electric Bicycle Classification: This bill would clarify the definition of electric bicycles (e-bikes) and make bicycling accessible to more people. On Governor’s desk. The two bills that have been signed are...

Buffered Bike Lanes to be Piloted on El Camino in Menlo Park

After a rousing City Council study session that went past midnight on August 25, Menlo Park has directed staff to scope out a buffered bike lane pilot for El Camino Real. Since this was only a study session, a final decision by Council is still anticipated. That will determine the design of the bike lane, the length of the pilot (6 months or a year), and the criteria for making the pilot permanent. SVBC strongly supports adding bike lanes on El Camino Real and has been involved with Menlo Park’s process over the last year. I spoke in favor of adding protected bike lanes (alternative 3) to El Camino Real over a third vehicle lane (alternative 1). Buffered bike lanes were alternative 2. The San Mateo County Health System has found that though El Camino Real makes up only 1% of streets in San Mateo County, it is the location of nearly 15% of bike collisions and 20% of pedestrian collisions. We urged Council to consider the dire safety issues and plan for a vision of Menlo Park for future generations: a lively place that draws people for shopping, transportation, recreation, and community events rather than a traffic-congested highway. With Menlo Park taking the lead, neighboring Atherton and Redwood City may follow suit with bike facilities on their portions of El Camino Real. There were over 15 speakers present who supported bike lanes on El Camino Real and only a few against. One of the highlights was a middle school student who would like to bike on El Camino Real with her friends. SVBC will be following up with...

2015 Silicon Valley Bike Summit Recap

Thanks to all who attended the 5th Annual Silicon Valley Bike Summit! Did you miss it? See below for more information and a chance to hear a podcast of the day. You can also view the archive of all tweets from the Summit as well as photos from the event. The Summit was a great day learning about safety and active transportation in San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties and we enjoyed seeing people from the non-profit, private, and public sectors as well as local residents and advocates! A special thanks to our high level sponsors. Stanford Health Care was our presenting sponsor and co-host, and many thanks to Microsoft and Emison Hullervson LLP for their generous support. We would like to also thank Genze, Palo Alto Bicycles, Paoli & Geerhart, Gary Brustin, Dero, Bank of the West, and M-Group. The opening plenary featured Nuria Fernandez, head of VTA, and Jim Hartnett, head of the San Mateo County Transit District. Our own President Shiloh Ballard moderated a fascinating conversation between them about their respective counties’ involvement in bicycling, safety, and the future of transit. Audience questions touched on funding through sales tax measures, bike access on trains and buses, bike maps, El Camino Real, and equity in transportation. Next, Jessica Osborne and Corina Chung of San Mateo County Health System (SMCHS) and Susan Lowery and Pamela Amparo of Santa Clara County Public Health Department (SCCPHD) presented on collision and injury data involving people who bike and walk. Check out the presentations from San Mateo County Health System and Santa Clara County Public Health Department. We learned that: In SMC,...