Washington, DC – Senator Chris Coons and Representative John Carney will be co-sponsors of the “Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Act” in the United States Congress.
Last year, overall traffic fatalities fell in Delaware to their lowest level in 50 years. But this decline has been entirely driven by a decline in motor vehicle occupant fatalities. Pedestrian and cyclist fatalities have not fallen. In fact, over a quarter of traffic fatalities in Delaware are now pedestrians. Over 25%!
The Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety (BPS) Act aims to reduce pedestrian and cyclist fatalities by creating a “performance measure” for nonmotorized transportation safety for the federal Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP). HSIP is a $2.4 billion annual program to improve road safety in the United States. It is the only federal program focused entirely on road safety.
The BPS Act is not a 6,000 page bill. In fact, it’s not even a 6 page bill. It’s a 6 word bill (perhaps one of the shortest bills ever introduced in the United States Congress!). All it would do is insert these 6 words (shown in red below) to the section of the United States Code governing the federal Highway Safety Improvement Program (“HSIP”).
USC Title 23 Section §150. National goals and performance management measures
(c) Establishment of Performance Measures
(4) Highway safety improvement program.-For the purpose of carrying out section 148, the Secretary shall establish measures for States to use to assess
(A) serious injuries and fatalities per vehicle mile traveled;
(B) the number of serious injuries and fatalities for both motorized and nonmotorized transportation.
Why are these 6 words important?
The 6 words are important because, up to now, the Highway Safety Improvement Program has not been used to improve either pedestrian or cyclist safety. Look at these Delaware numbers for the program:
The Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Act before Congress aims to change this. By making “nonmotorized transportation” into a performance measure for the program, it will create a measure by which departments of transportation can start to hold themselves accountable for pedestrian and cyclist safety. It creates a number to measure and that’s critical because without a number to measure, how can DOT leaders be expected to manage?
We thank Senators Coons and Representative Carney for their interest in pedestrian and cyclist safety, for their leadership and for their critical support for the Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Act. We are grateful for their service to Delaware.
Please add your own thanks to both Senator Coons and Representative Carney!
Thank Senator Coons for being a co-sponsor of the Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Act HERE.
Thank Representative Carney for being a co-sponsor of the Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Act HERE.
James Wilson is the executive director of Bike Delaware.