Skip to Content
Streetsblog USA home
Streetsblog USA home
Log In
Bike/Ped

Bipartisan Ped Safety Amendment Hitches a Ride on House Auto Bill

12:42 PM EDT on May 27, 2010

The House Energy and Commerce Committee yesterday advanced an auto safety bill aimed at strengthening U.S. DOT regulators' hands in the aftermath of Toyota's recall debacle. Despite Republican complaints that the legislation would impose too many new costs on the car industry, bipartisan support emerged readily for an amendment focused on pedestrian safety.

Cliff_Stearns.jpgRep. Cliff Stearns (R-FL) (Photo: 2.bp.blogspot.com)

Offered by Reps. Ed Towns (D-NY) and Cliff Stearns (R-FL), the amendment would require makers of hybrid and electric cars, which often produce little to no sound when traveling at low speeds, to include an alert noise as a precaution for nearby pedestrians and cyclists.

The silent-cars amendment tracks with conclusions reached this month by automakers and advocates for the blind, many of whom were long concerned about already-impaired pedestrians' ability to guard against the presence of a semi-silent oncoming vehicle.

A September study [PDF] conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that the crash risk to pedestrians from cars traveling at low speeds was twice as high for hybrids as for combustion-engine models. The study also concluded that the likelihood of crashes at road intersections involving cyclists were "significantly higher" for hybrids than for conventionally powered cars.

“As the popularity of hybrid and green cars continues
to grow, the audibility of these vehicles at low speeds poses serious safety
concerns,” Towns said in a statement on his and Stearns' proposal. The broader auto-safety bill is expected to come to a vote in the full House later this year.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog USA

NYC Debuts Public E-Bike Charging for Delivery Workers

Finally, they’re taking charge! The city’s first public e-bike charging station opened in Cooper Square on Thursday — the start of an overdue six-month pilot that is part of a “Charge Safe Ride Safe Action Plan” for delivery workers that Mayor Adams announced last year.

March 1, 2024

Friday’s Headlines Have Questions

What's an optimal rebate to get people to buy e-bikes without wasting money on those who were going to buy one anyway?

March 1, 2024

To Recruit Transit Workers, More Than Just Higher Pay Is Needed

Labor shortages continue threatening public transit systems, and a new report adds another layer to the conversation.

February 29, 2024

Talking Headways Podcast: Streets for Skateboards

Aaron Breetwor on skateboards for transportation and designing streets for safer skateboarding.

February 29, 2024

Agencies Need to Use Federal Funding to Buy Land for Transit Oriented Development

Transit agencies do not prioritize transit-adjacent housing development often because they lack funding to acquire land.

February 29, 2024
See all posts