Roadway and traffic engineering is a critical element in Florida’s effort to reduce motorcycle crashes. A roadway design that recognizes the special problems for riders will not only reduce motorcycle crashes, but improve safety for all vehicles. Balancing the needs of motorcyclists must always be considered. Engineering solutions can impact the safety of motorcyclists in the design, construction, traffic control, operation, and maintenance of our roadways.
Florida’s Motorcycle Safety Strategic Plan identifies four roadway engineering strategies designed to incorporate motorcycle-friendly policies and practices into roadway design, traffic control, construction, operation, and maintenance. To help keep riders safe on Florida roadways, the following are some tips for planners and engineers on the steps to take to improve safety.
Motorcycle Specific Signage
Planners and engineers should analyze the roadway and identify locations for motorcycle warning signs designed for motorcycles. Some agencies have created motorcycle specific signs with a motorcycle and rider pictured; while others use the “Motorcycles Use Extreme Caution” in conjunction with other warning signs, such as “Uneven Pavement,” “Steel Plates Ahead,” “Open Joints on Bridge,” and the following: Motorcyclists should be warned of undesirable/unexpected roadway conditions through appropriate roadside signage for conditions awaiting repair, for conditions during the repair of riding surfaces, and when permanent roadway features cannot be modified. When system wide treatments are not feasible, agencies should first target high-crash locations and roadways with high motorcycle volumes. Automated traffic signals which do not detect small vehicles present a challenge to motorcyclists, causing some motorcyclists to run red lights after sitting through several cycles. Common solutions are to increase the sensitivity of the in-ground loop detectors which trigger the signal or paint symbols on the pavement where motorcyclists should stop to activate the loop detector.
Motorcycle safety should be included in highway design, construction, and maintenance planning.The first step is to educate roadway design, operations, and maintenance management and staff regarding motorcycle safety issues that differ from the safety issues of other motor vehicles.
- Meet with motorcyclists to discuss local issues of concern; this can be done by contacting your local rider education training center or motorcycle rider groups.
- Educate your highway engineering and maintenance workforce on roadway conditions that may be hazardous to motorcycles.
- Include periodic motorcycle safety design criteria updates in continuing education for your engineers.
- Incorporate motorcycle safety as a standard component of all training and operations, including routine roadway inspections, hazardous location studies, and traffic control and signage reviews.
- Add a motorcycle component in all required training for contractors, designers, and engineers.