Washington, DC– Today, Representatives Earl Blumenauer (OR-03),Howard Coble (NC-06),and Mike McCaul (TX-10) introduced the bipartisan Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Act, which would require the US Department of Transportation to set separate measures for motorized and non-motorized safety. States would be able to set their own safety targets and have the flexibility to choose the best methods to meet them. The legislation encourages states to make their roadways safer without diverting funding from other safety needs.
In 2012, more than 34,000 people died due to traffic accidents – and almost 16 percent of these deaths were pedestrians and bicyclists. Yet, less than 1 percent of safety funding goes to infrastructure to protect those on foot or on bicycle.
“Everyone is a pedestrian at some point in their trip,” said Blumenauer, “and the number of individuals commuting by bike has increased by more than 60% over the last decade. As transportation systems adjust to handle different type of road users, the federal government must encourage appropriate standards to ensure road user safety.”
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration recently reported a 2 percent drop in roadway fatalities, and a 4.6 percent drop for occupants of cars and light trucks between 2010 and 2011. These safety improvements, however, have not helped all road users. Even as driver and passenger deaths have decreased, the percentage of bicyclist and pedestrian roadway deaths has increased in recent years.
“While overall traffic deaths are down, the number of bicyclists dying on our roadways has increased by nine percent and pedestrian deaths have gone up by three percent recently,” said Coble. “This bipartisan legislation strives toreduce the number of bicyclists and pedestrians killed and injured on our roadways. It will help protect all users of our transportation system, while giving states flexibility to enact measures that make sense for them.”