Bicycle Friendly America Summer 2018 - 10

AUTOMATED VEHICLES
KEN MCLEOD

I

SOURCE: HTTPS://DATA.OECD.ORG/TRANSPORT/ROAD-ACCIDENTS.HTM

want automated vehicles to work. The United States transportation industry and its participants has proven itself
uniquely unable to address traffic safety over the last few
decades - as most wealthy countries have seen traffic fatalities per person fall considerably over the last two decades the
United States has not. The rate of traffic fatalities per person in
the United States is twice the next highest member of the G7.
While traffic safety in the US is far from only a bicyclist
problem, bicyclists have been disproportionately affected by
the failure to improve traffic safety. The number of bicyclist
deaths has increased in recent years, and reached a 25-year high
in 2016. It is extremely appealing to have a magic bullet - automated vehicles - that addresses the otherwise seemingly intractable issue of death on America's roadways.1

While automated vehicles are unlikely to be a magic bullet
for all that ails transportation in the United States, there are
many potential advantages. I think all bicyclists should be excited about the following opportunities that they might enable:
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.

Improved safety for people who bike
Improved comfort for people who bike
A solution to distracted driving
Better bike infrastructure
More bike infrastructure

This article will, hopefully, allow you to understand why
each of the opportunities above might be realized by automated vehicles, what barriers might exist, and actions you can
10 BICYCLE FRIENDLY AMERICA

take now to help ensure that automated vehicles deliver on
their possibility for improving bicycling.
IMPROVED SAFETY
Why should we expect improved safety?
Automated vehicles are often marketed based on their ability
to improve safety. It is extremely common for automated vehicle marketing materials to say that they will address the 94%
of serious crashes that are due to human error.2 Some automakers and writers say that there is a moral imperative to deploy
automated vehicles as soon as possible to save lives. Federal automated vehicle policy is called "Automated Driving Systems
(ADS): A Vision for Safety 2.0" - if automated vehicles do not
deliver improved safety for all then they are not delivering on
the primary goal stated by manufacturers and policymakers.
For people who bike, the Insurance Institute of Highway
Safety3 estimates that crash avoidance systems, that automate
driving systems such as braking and/or augment the detection
of bicyclists for drivers, could mitigate or prevent up to 47% of
crashes and 54% of fatal crashes involving bicyclists if they can
address three motor vehicle-bicycle crash scenarios: 1) a vehicle
striking a bicyclist from behind, 2) a vehicle striking a bicyclist
as it moves across traffic, and 3) a vehicle striking a bicyclist
traveling against traffic. While the IIHS tests and rates crash
avoidance technologies such as front crash prevention they
have not yet incorporated the ability of these technologies to
prevent crashes with bicyclists and pedestrians into their tests.
In April, Bill Nesper and Caron Whitaker, the Executive
Director and Vice President of Government Relations for the
League, attended a crash test at the IIHS facility in Virginia sponsored by DriveSmart Virginia, a statewide non-profit
founded by insurance companies to learn more about the testing IIHS does and when bicyclist and pedestrian testing may
begin. While no solid date was given, testing and rating these
systems for bicyclist and pedestrian crash scenarios is on their
research horizon and these technologies should provide a measure of safety even without full automation.
What barriers to improved safety exist?
Automated vehicles are incredibly complex. They rely on a
variety of sensor technologies, machine learning algorithms,
and massive amounts of programming. At this time, there are
no standards by which to test automated vehicle systems or
all of their constituent parts in a way that allows the public to
understand their capabilities for safe operation.
The death of Elaine Herzberg on March 18, 2018 has cast a
spotlight on the lightly regulated public experiment of auto-


https://www.nhtsa.gov/technology-innovation/automated-vehicles-safety https://data.oecd.org/transport/road-accidents.htm HTTPS://DATA.OECD.ORG/TRANSPORT/ROAD-ACCIDENTS.HTM http://www.iihs.org/iihs/sr/statusreport/article/50/3/3

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Bicycle Friendly America Summer 2018

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Bicycle Friendly America Summer 2018 - No label
Bicycle Friendly America Summer 2018 - Cover1
Bicycle Friendly America Summer 2018 - Cover2
Bicycle Friendly America Summer 2018 - 1
Bicycle Friendly America Summer 2018 - 2
Bicycle Friendly America Summer 2018 - 3
Bicycle Friendly America Summer 2018 - 4
Bicycle Friendly America Summer 2018 - 5
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Bicycle Friendly America Summer 2018 - Cover3
Bicycle Friendly America Summer 2018 - Cover4
http://www.nxtbook.com/mercury/bikeleague/BFA_Summer2018
http://www.nxtbook.com/mercury/bikeleague/BFA_Winter2018
http://www.nxtbook.com/mercury/bikeleague/BFA_Fall2017
http://www.nxtbook.com/mercury/bikeleague/BFA_Summer2017
http://www.nxtbook.com/mercury/bikeleague/BFA_Winter2017
http://www.nxtbook.com/mercury/bikeleague/BFA_Fall2016_GatewayDemo
http://www.nxtbook.com/mercury/bikeleague/BFA_Fall2016
http://www.nxtbook.com/mercury/bikeleague/BFA_Spring2016
http://www.nxtbookMEDIA.com