On Wednesday, April 14, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will be holding a hearing on transportation safety. This hearing is part of a series meant to gather input and recommendations for the next surface transportation authorization bill.
Deb Hubsmith, Director of the Safe Routes to School National Partnership, is one of seven witnesses that will be testifying at the hearing. She will be addressing bicycle and pedestrian safety in her testimony, particularly as it pertains to children and Safe Routes to School.
In her remarks, Hubsmith calls attention to the grave disparities between the number of bicyclists and pedestrians killed each year in traffic crashes and the small proportion of funding that is used by states to address bicycle and pedestrian safety. Nationwide, more than 5,000 pedestrians and cyclists were killed on U.S. roads in 2008, representing 13 percent of all traffic fatalities. Yet, states have dedicated just 1.2 percent of their SAFETEA-LU funds and 0.6 percent of federal safety funds to bicycling and walking, which are common and increasingly popular modes of transportation; 12 percent of trips in America are already made on foot or by bike.
Hubsmith highlights a number of programs, including Safe Routes to School, and studies that are improving safety for bicyclists and pedestrians. She also urges the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works to take several steps to improve bicycle and pedestrian safety in the next transportation bill, including:
- Increasing funding for Safe Routes to School and other bicycle and pedestrian transportation programs;
- Supporting Complete Streets;
- Creating benchmarks for transportation safety that include goals to reduce fatalities and crashes for all modes, including bicyclists and pedestrians;
- Collecting more bicycle and pedestrian data; and
- Supporting innovative designs that have been shown to improve bicycle and pedestrian safety.
The hearing will be broadcast live on April 14, 2010 starting at approximately 10:00 a.m. from the website of the EPW Committee. An archived copy will also be available for future viewing after the hearing is over.
Trenton Cycling Revolution supports this effort and hopes to create more safe routes to school here in our own city!