HAT: Hazard Analaysis Tool

OK, this is a tired and tortured topic, but we continue to see guff about this nonsense, so I figured I’d find some backup.

Just a warning for those who wanted more on meditation or me waxing fondly on past bike rides in lovely places…

As I posted last week, I’m both in engineering (software) and am geek.

I love a good piece of data analysis.

Thus, when I heard that “bike lanes were inherently unsafe”, my mouth watered.

“Et tu, Brute,” I thought.

Then, rememebered the speech I had heard that the US has really high road standards, much higher than the Netherlands. Despite this, we have more road deaths. Thus, standards are not the problem.

“But what are those standards?” I wondered.

I did what I do whenever I have these problems, I ask my guru then I spam mailing lists with his musings as well as my own anecdotes and speculations.:)

Just kidding.

I do a five minute google search.

This gave me a world of data, the coolest being a piece of software called HAT: Hazard Analysis Tool. This can all be found in this excellent talk (pdf).

From the talk, HAT is “designed to Justify Safety Projects.”

It has a “module to assist in documenting problems
and determining mitigation.”

To get a copy talk to Purdue which owns the copyright.

There is a “Federal Requirement that all states evaluate their highway system for the 5% of locations that exhibit the highest Safety Needs Emphasis on Fatal and Incapacitating Injuries.”

Thus, if any bike infrastructure turns out to be hazardous, it will, by federal law, be fixed soon.

What does unsafe mean according to US DOT?

“Locations are qualified to be on the 5% that meet two conditions: location must experience two events of a Fatal or Incapacitating Injury (icc) and locations are then ranked by Icc. Locations are chosen until 5% of the Fatal and Incapacitating Injuries are represented.”

But bike lanes are still unnecessary, right? They are an extra liability and a gray area?


According to a US DOT policy satatement each local traffic planning agency must:

“Define the exceptional circumstances in which facilities for bicyclists and pedestrians will NOT be required in all transportation projects.”

That is, by law, the onus is on those who need to prove that we should NOT build bike infrastructure. We need to figure this out, separately, and to argue, separately, each piece of infrastructure.

“Adopt new manuals, or amend existing manuals, covering the geometric design of streets, the development of roadside safety facilities, and the design of bridges and their approaches so that
they comprehensively address the development of bicycle and pedestrian facilities as an integral element of the design of all new and reconstructed roadways.”

This means that we not only CAN innovate, but, by federal law, we must, if it’s necessary to accomodate non-motorized transportation.

Again, this can be found with google.

There’s much more online if one would spend the time to google.

The take home message is that streets must accomodate all modes, by federal and state (CA) law. Anyone who disagrees must find a particular reason for a single street on why this is an exception. The burden of proof is on those who do NOT want infrastructure.

There’s nothing in the code about continuing to allow cyclists to “take the lane” nor is there anything to indicate that bike facilities are harmful to cyclists. Also, there’s nothing to show that building facilities will take rights away.


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