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Complete Streets Planning Becomes Law in Hawaii

10:20 AM EDT on May 8, 2009

In more and more communities around the country, the benefits of complete streets -- designed for the benefit and safety of all users, not just automobiles -- are becoming clear. The latest advance comes in Hawaii, where the governor has signed legislation that makes building complete streets a state policy. Today on the Streetsblog Network, Transportation for America has the news, and a reminder that change at the national level is still possible:

2452960116_65750327c9_m.jpgThis street could soon be a lot safer. Photo by David M. Hepburn via Flickr.

Hawai’i’s policy comes right on the heels of an executive order from Delaware Governor Markell, directing the Delaware state transportation department to create a policy to “promote safe access for all users, including pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists and bus riders of all ages to be able to safely move along and across the streets of Delaware.”

Hawai’i’s bill marks the 92nd policy at any level passed in the U.S. But even as cities like Rochester, MN, and states like Hawaii are passing their own policies, there is still a chance to get complete streets enacted at the federal level -- requiring that any roads built with federal dollars consider the needs of all users while in the planning process.

Complete streets bills are still circulating in Congress, and T4 America and The National Complete Streets Coalition are looking for legislators to sign on and co-sponsor these important bills.

It’s not too late. Write your member of Congress today and tell them to support or co-sponsor this important legislation.

Complete streets legislation could have a profound effect on conditions for bikers, and that could be key for bike safety. Today the Streetsblog Network is also featuring a post from WorldChanging about how a new study from the UK's Cyclists Touring Club (CTC) confirms that bike riders find safety in numbers:

The trend is clear, with areas popular for cyclists tending to besafer on average, with the differences sometimes significant. …The phenomenon …can be seen throughoutEurope. Other figures compiled by the organisation show that inDenmark, top of the continental league for cycling, the average personrides over 10 times further than his British peer every year but runsonly 20% of the risk of being killed.

The reasons for thisinverse correlation are many, according to [Chris Peck, the CTC's policy coordinator], and include thelikelihood of better cycling infrastructure in areas where more peopleride, the fact that if car drivers also occasionally cycle they arelikely to be more careful with bikes, and the statistical quirk that ahigher proportion of riders in low-cycling areas tend to be young menwith a higher than average threshold for risk.

"It's a virtuouscircle: people feel safe, they know a lot of people who also cycle andsay, 'it's OK, get out there. It's even a pleasant way to get around,'"said Peck. "They're much more likely to get on a bike if they know,say, a friend or neighbour who cycles."

And a final feel-good tidbit for your weekend: In Montréal, according to member blog On Two Wheels, an anonymous donor is continuing a tradition of giving bicycles to some very deserving kids. It's his birthday present to himself -- and he's turning 84 this year.

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