Behavior Observation

Since pedestrian and bicycle crashes are relatively infrequent events in most locations, it can be useful to observe interactions between pedestrians, bicyclists, and drivers that are close to being collisions (i.e., "near misses") or behaviors that could lead to pedestrian or bicycle crashes. This information can help provide support to make pedestrian and bicycle safety improvements before crashes occur.

Behaviors that can be observed include:

  • The 85th percentile speed of traffic on roadways near campus
  • Driver yielding to pedestrians at midblock crosswalks
  • Driver traffic signal compliance, including stopping before turning right on red
  • Pedestrian traffic signal compliance
  • Pedestrians looking in all directions for traffic before crossing the roadway
  • Bicyclist traffic signal compliance

Considerations: It is not clear which behaviors are the best proxies, or surrogates, for actual pedestrian or bicycle crash risk. In theory, behaviors are likely to indicate pedestrian and bicycle safety problems, but there is still relatively little research linking risky behaviors to the occurrence of pedestrian and bicycle crashes.

Applications: Vehicle speed, driver yielding, pedestrian signal compliance, and bicyclist signal compliance were observed around the University of California, Berkeley campus to identify safety problems (Schneider et al. 2012). They were also collected to establish baseline data to document changes in pedestrian and bicycle safety over time.

Go to Expected Crash Rate Estimation