What Are Vulnerable Road Users?

What Are Vulnerable Road Users?

Vulnerable Road Users, or VRU’s are users that have less protection, and are at more risk in traffic. These include pedestrians, bicyclists and motorcyclists. Children, the elderly, and disabled people are considered especially vulnerable groups of people, since they have physical disadvantages compared to an average road user.


People that are walking, running, jogging, hiking, sitting, skating or skateboarding are considered pedestrians. Pedestrians are often found in urban areas such as shopping plazas, gas stations, malls and neighborhoods.Since pedestrians are slower than cars and have no protection against a collision, it is extremely hazardous for them to be walking in any place where cars and other vehicles travel.

Did you know?

  • In 2012, there were 4,743 pedestrian deaths nationwide (NHTSA, 2014)
  • Pedestrian fatalities in Florida was nearly double the national average during 2011, making it the state with the highest fatality rate (The Center for Urban Transportation Research USF, 2013)


bicyclist in road

Bicyclists are often found on the roadways or in their respective bicycle lane. A bike lane can be identified by an image of a bicycle painted on the bike lane or a sign next to the lane. Bikes are considered vehicles, so they belong on the road pavement when there isn’t a bike lane or if the bike lane is unsafe for them to use. For the same reason, they are required by Florida to follow the rules of the road. You can find bicyclists on many roads, however, you shouldn’t find them on interstates.

Did You Know?

  • In 2011, Florida’s bicycle fatality rates were nearly TRIPLE the national average, accounting for 17.4% of all U.S. bicycle fatalities (The Center for Urban Transportation Research USF, 2013)
  • 40% of bicyclist fatalities are a direct result of rear-end collisions (Every Bicyclist Counts, 2014)


Motorcycles are small, fast and not as common as other vehicles. This means that drivers often don’t see them or they aren’t used to looking for them. Just as the other VRU’s, this group has no significant protection to help them survive a collision, which is why it is important for them to wear protective gear and utilize defensive driving techniques.

Did You Know?

  • Motorcyclist deaths made up about 15% of the total crash fatalities in the U.S. in 2012 (NHTSA, 2013)
  • In 2012, motorcyclists were the second most common type of road user death in Florida (NHTSA, n.d.)


Traffic Safety Facts 2012 Data. NHTSA. 2014.
Florida Pedestrian and Bicycle Strategic Safety Plan. The Center for Urban Transportation Research USF. 2013.
Bicyclist Safety Must Be a Priority: Findings from a year of fatality tracking — and the urgent need for better data. Every Bicyclist Counts. 2014.
2012 Motor Vehicle Crashes: Overview. NHTSA. 2013.
Traffic Safety Facts 2012. NHTSA. n.d.


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