Today 69 members of the House of Representatives sent a letter to Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood asking the U.S. Department of Transportation to set a national goal to reduce bicyclist deaths. The bi-partisan letter, led by Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Howard Coble (R-NC), was signed by one-third of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and represents members from 26 states and the District of Columbia.
During the National Bike Summit this month, advocates met with their representatives and staff, asking them to sign on to the ‘Dear Colleague’ letter to Secretary LaHood. Sixty-nine of those representatives said yes. Now that’s what I call a successful Summit Lobby Day! Thank you to everyone who participated in Hill meetings on March 6th — or tweeted or e-mailed from home. You clearly made a difference. (Click here for a list of all Reps who signed on.)
Certainly, now is the time to bring some focus to bicycling and pedestrian safety. Biking is booming, as mayors and community leaders around the country are turning to bicycling as both an important transportation choice and an economic boost. To keep this trend going, we need to ensure that safe and accessible bicycling and walking are factored into future transportation plans and projects.
MAP-21, the transportation bill passed in 2012, requires U.S. DOT to act now to establish goals — performance measures — to guide traffic safety policy and funding at the national and state level for years to come. Without a specific performance measure for non-motorized safety, bicyclists and pedestrians will remain firmly in the blindspot of traffic safety.
The letter sent today shows that Members of Congress agree. This is exactly the time to establish meaningful national goals and performance measures to tackle bicyclist and pedestrian safety as part of an overall, comprehensive and multi-modal traffic safety program.
But we’re not done yet. Today Sens. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Mark Kirk (R-IL) are circulating a similar ‘Dear Colleague’ in the Senate, asking the U.S. Department of Transportation for specific performance measures to gauge and improve bicycle and pedestrian safety. Please ask your Senator to sign on as well.
Did your member sign on? If so, please click here and send them a thank you! Or better yet post a short article thanking them in your advocacy organization or neighborhood newsletters and send them a copy.
Caron WhitakerPrior to joining the League of American Bicyclists in 2012, Ms. Whitaker served as the Campaign Director for America Bikes where she coordinated and implemented America Bikes federal policy agenda. Before that, she worked for the National Wildlife Federation on smart growth, international policy, and community engagement. In addition, Caron served as a Community Land Use Planner for the State of North Carolina Division of Coastal Management, providing technical assistance to local governments and staffing a stakeholders’ council responsible for revising state planning regulations. She has a Masters in Environmental Management for Duke University, Nicolas School of the Environment and a Bachelors of Arts from Williams College.
Vice President of Government Relations