Cycling Advocacy: Support House Bill HR 3494

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The United States should have a national goal to reduce the number of bicyclists and pedestrians killed on our roadways.

If you ever happen to catch the local news on TV, you may have noticed a disturbing trend. The rule for TV news has always been, “If it bleeds, it leads,” but where auto accidents and shootings used to dominate, it seems that pedestrian and bike accidents are commonly the lead story.

The statistics support that this is the case. The question would be, “Why?” Are pedestrians and cyclists more numerous? That could definitely be true. Other stats are showing that folks are getting out of their cars and driving less.

Are cyclists and pedestrians being less cautious? Certainly a case could be made that with more of anything, you are likely to get an increasing number that are acting foolishly.

Are drivers less considerate or aware. This is also a possibility. We hear a great deal about road rage, and certainly about cyclists and drivers who have bad attitudes about one another.

In order to better understand these trends, cycling advocates have proposed that the Federal Hwy Commission start setting goals and guidelines for reducing these incidents. The League of American Bicyclists has sent out this urgent appeal for those in the cycling community to make their voices heard about a simple amendment to Title 23 of the US code:

Support the Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Act!

The United States should have a national goal to reduce the number of bicyclists and pedestrians killed on our roadways.

Please ask your Senators and Representative to co-sponsor HR 3494/S 1708 to institute a non-motorized safety performance measure.  Take Action NOW!

It seems like a common sense request, but US DOT and the Federal Highway Administration has refused to set a performance measure to reduce bicycle and pedestrian deaths. We are now asking Congress to require such a measure.

Here’s why:

MAP-21, the new federal transportation law, requires USDOT and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to establish safety performance measures for states to meet – but, no performance measure related to the safety of people who bike and walk is currently being considered by FHWA.

The number of bicyclist and pedestrian fatalities has risen for the past two years (2010 and 2011) while overall traffic deaths have gone down quite dramatically — that means the percentage of fatalities that are bike/ped has risen from 12% to nearly 16%.
MAP-21 almost doubled the amount of funding available for the Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP), a program run by state Departments of Transportation. Unfortunately, that program has woefully small investments in bike/ped safety projects: Only seven states have spent any of these funds on bike/ped projects, and combined they’ve spent less than 0.5% of the funds annually.

​Without a specific performance measure to focus on nonmotorized safety, bicyclists and pedestrians will remain firmly in the blindspot of traffic safety.

Please ask Congress to co-sponsor HR 3494/S 1708 to set a national goal to reduce the number of bicyclists and pedestrians injured and killed on our roads.


Caron Whitaker
League of American Bicyclists, VP of Government Relations

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