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March 29, 2013

Urging Transportation Secretary LaHood to Protect Bicyclists, Pedestrians

Bike laneDid you know that between 2010 and 2011, the number of bicyclists dying on U.S. roads increased by nine percent and pedestrian deaths increased by three percent? Meanwhile, there's been a decrease in vehicle driver and passenger deaths in that same time. Cyclists and pedestrians account for 16 percent of roadway fatalities nationwide!

This tremendous risk to bicyclists and pedestrians on our roads brought together 68 House representatives in a letter asking Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood to set separate safety standards for those who bike on and walk along our roads. Read the letter here (PDF).

Under the transportation bill, the Department of Transportation must set national performance measures, which serve as the basis for state performance measures and plans. Creating separate safety standards for cyclists and pedestrians is worth supporting because it requires state departments of transportation to focus on making biking and walking safer.

Biking and walking are great ways to get around town for errands and for commuting to work, but many can't travel this way due to unsafe road conditions or a lack of bike lanes and crosswalks.

And if more businesses start paying people to live closer to the office (we can always hope... but here's one cool example of that), we'll definitely need better infrastructure to keep the public safe.

Plus, everyone's learning to enjoy biking these days -- even tennis star Serena Williams biked to (and won!) her latest match in Florida. Although she had to bike due to horrendous traffic.

Which brings us all back to creating an overall better, more sustainable transportation infrastructure nationwide. Shouldn't we be helping people not have to suffer through megacommutes? Just look at how long some people spend getting to the office each day!

-- Heather Moyer, Sierra Club

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