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Huntsville cyclists collaborate with City to launch See & Be Seen reporting tool

Published on January 23, 2020

Photo of downtown Huntsville bike path

Keeping roadways safe is a high priority for the City’s urban development and public safety departments. Together, these teams of engineers, planners, and police officers work in tandem to integrate new forms of mobility to the transportation plan.

This includes safely accommodating bicycle, pedestrian, and motor vehicle traffic. Long enjoyed for pleasure riding and sport, bikes have become a popular method of transportation on Huntsville streets. As more bicycles enter the roadways, the City recognizes there is still more work to be done to make streets comfortable for riders of all ages and abilities.

To help achieve this goal, Huntsville’s Bicycle Advisory and Safety Committee (BASC) worked with the City to implement an online reporting tool, where cyclists could share road hazards or incidents with motorists where they felt unsafe. The reporting tool, which launched January 23 on BikeHuntsville.com, can also be used by pedestrians and motorists to report similar “near miss” incidents.

The City will use data from these submissions to inform municipal decision-making on road improvements and to determine areas that need additional traffic enforcement.

“Transportation is evolving, and as Huntsville continues to embrace more forms of mobility, having direct information from cyclists could help us better understand our near and long-term transportation needs,” said Dennis Madsen, Manager of Urban and Long Range Planning for the City of Huntsville.

The City anticipates using the data for grant applications, infrastructure planning and policy decisions. Officials will also use the data to identify areas to add police patrols for traffic and speeding and to gather information about “repeat offender” drivers who may continually endanger cyclists.

BASC co-chair Bruce Weddendorf said he’s delighted the City is providing this service to the biking community.

“Cyclists need a place to record and report incidents, including near misses and harassment, and this form will provide the mechanism through which the City can identify trouble spots and gather data necessary to take appropriate action to make our streets and multi-use paths safer for all users,” he said. “Thank you for making this important resource a reality.”

The new See and Be Seen reporting form will be reviewed over a six-month period to determine if it provides an effective resource for the City and BASC.

Madsen emphasized the form is not a criminal report and should not be used by cyclists for this purpose. Cyclists should report criminal behavior to the Huntsville Police Department directly.

Examples of potentially criminal behaviors include:

  • A driver who hits a cyclist(s) with a vehicle
  • A driver who physically assaults a cyclist
  • A driver who verbally threatens to do harm
  • A driver who intentionally or aggressively intimidates (ex. Swerving car)

Cyclists who may have been criminally endangered by an aggressive driver in the City of Huntsville can file a report with the Huntsville Police Department in person or by calling 256-427-7009 or 256-427-7114.

Submit feedback on the new See and Be Seen report form by emailing Dennis Madsen at Dennis.Madsen@HuntsvilleAL.gov or calling 256-427–5101.