“Vulnerable Roadway User”: A European Safety Concept
The concept of “vulnerable roadway user” has been used by planners and safety organizations in Europe to categorize and describe non-motorized roadway users. The label is a nice one because it incorporates the inherent vulnerability of humans who use the roads without being encased in a protective steel shell. The inclusion of the concept of vulnerability evokes a more sympathetic image and focuses on the shared vulnerability of these different user groups.
The vulnerable roadway user concept is catching on in the US, and LMB currently is pushing vulnerable roadway user legislation in both the Michigan House and Senate. Such a law would create an enhanced penalty for careless driving if it contributes to serious physical injury or death to a “vulnerable user of a public way.”