Yesterday was a great day for Congressional support for bicycle safety! Two Democrats and two Republicans introduced a bill to make states set separate performance measures for bike and pedestrian safety. And in addition, Rep. Albio Sires, a New Jersey Democrat, announced on the floor of the House of Representatives that he’ll be introducing a bill to help low-income communities invest in biking and walking.
His remarks came on the heels of yesterday’s release of national safety data that confirmed that pedestrian and cyclist fatalities comprise a growing share of overall traffic deaths.
Sires said that he was inspired to action by a report the Sierra Club and the League of American Bicyclists released this spring called, “The New Majority: Pedaling Towards Equity.”
Here’s what Sires said on the House floor:
Mr. Speaker, I rise today to talk about the importance of investing in safe infrastructure for pedestrians and bicyclists. I recently read a report presented by the Sierra Club and League of American Bicyclists, entitled The New Majority: Pedaling towards Equity, and as someone who rides a bicycle regularly, I think there’s a lot to be excited about in their findings. Across the nation, bike ridership is up — and the numbers are impressive. From 2001 to 2009 there has been a 22 percent increase in bike trips among white Americans, 50 percent for Hispanics, 80 percent for Asian Americans, 100 percent among African Americans, and there’s plenty of room for those numbers to grow.
Unfortunately, concerns about access to safe infrastructure remains a barrier for many would-be riders. I believe we must do more in Congress to address that. It’s a simple fact that when we invest in complete streets with safe pedestrian and bicycle pathways, we create communities where businesses want to invest and families want to live. That is why I plan to introduce a bill in the coming weeks that will create innovative new ways of financing non-motorized infrastructure projects. I am hopeful that this legislation will attract bipartisan support here in Congress, so that Americans of all ages and backgrounds can enjoy equitable access to safe roads.