• U.S. House Committee Tells USDOT To Reduce Walking and Cycling Fatalities and Injuries

    by  • May 30, 2014 • Legislation and Policy, Safety • 7 Comments

    Representative Tom Latham (Iowa)

    Representative Tom Latham (Iowa)

    Last week the United States House of Representatives Appropriations Committee approved the fiscal year 2015 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development funding bill. The legislation includes funding for the Department of Transportation, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and other related agencies. In addition, the committee also issued an accompanying report in which it directs United States Department of Transportation to reduce walking and cycling fatalities:

    “The Committee on Appropriations submits the following report in explanation of the accompanying bill making appropriations for the Departments of Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development, and related agencies for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2015….

    (page 31): Safety performance measures and reporting requirements.—On March 11, 2014, FHWA published an NPRM to establish safety performance measures for the Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) as required by section 1203 of MAP–21. The NPRM proposes to establish one measure for each of the following areas as mandated by MAP–21: number of fatalities; fatality rate; number of serious injuries; and serious injury rate. In addition, while the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) already uses performance measures for pedestrian fatalities in administering NHTSA’s highway traffic safety grant program, the Committee understands that NHTSA intends to establish performance measures for bicycle fatalities when it administers its fiscal year 2015 traffic safety grants. Recognizing the increase in pedestrian and bicycle fatalities, the Secretary of Transportation should establish separate non-motorized safety performance measures for the purpose of carrying out HSIP requirements. The FHWA [Federal Highway Administration] should define these performance measures specifically to evaluate the number of fatalities and serious injuries for pedestrian and bicycle crashes. The statutory deadline for completing the rulemaking has come and gone. The Committee directs FHWA to publish its final rule on safety performance measures no later than 60 days after the enactment of this Act.” [emphases added]


    This is the second congressional committee within a month to give plain direction to the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) to establish a walking and cycling safety performance measurement yardstick. On May 15, the United States Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee unanimously approved Senate Bill 2322, known as the “MAP-21 Reauthorization Act” which would, by law, establish a safety performance measure for walking and cycling for the Highway Safety Improvement Program (the only program of the United States government focused entirely on road safety).

    Within weeks of each other, two congressional committees, one controlled by the Democrats and one controlled by the Republicans, have now unambiguously declared that walking and cycling safety need to be a numerically measured priority for the Highway Safety Improvement Program of the United States government.

    In September of 2013, Bike Delaware made the exact same point in a direct letter to USDOT Secretary Anthony Foxx (whose agency includes Federal Highway Administration) about the need for a numerical safety performance measure for walking and cycling.

    It’s not clear to me why the Federal Highway Administration is having such a hard time grasping the – when you get right down to it – almost childishly simply point that there needs to be a numerical safety goal for walking and cycling. If we don’t measure what we’re doing, how can we know whether the money we are spending is having any impact?

    Would you like to help get this message

    Please establish a numerical safety performance measure for walking and cycling for the Highway Safety Improvement Program.

    directly to the Federal Highway Administration? It’s actually easy and just takes a minute. Just click right here and leave that message (and your name)!



      James Wilson is the executive director of Bike Delaware.






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    • EPW Committee Unanimously Approves Major Bipartisan Transportation Bill, MAP-21 Reauthorization Act

    • MAP–21 Reauthorization Act (S.2322)

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    • House Majority Leader Will Lead Delaware’s Cycling Delegation to Washington DC

    • Road Safety in Delaware: How We Can Reduce the Number of Dead Pedestrians (Part 1)

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    James Wilson is the executive director of Bike Delaware. He is a member of the Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals (by whom he was named the 2014 Professional of the Year, Nonprofit Sector), the Institute of Transportation Engineers and the Delaware Bicycle Council. He is the co-chair of the policy committee of the Advisory Council on Walkability and Pedestrian Awareness and serves on the board of directors of the Delaware Valley Smart Growth Alliance. He holds engineering degrees from Yale University and the University of Texas at Austin and is the only registered lobbyist for cycling and walking in Delaware. He helped create, and continues to lead Bike Delaware's participation in, the Walkable Bikeable Delaware campaign. During his tenure as Bike Delaware's executive director, Delaware advanced in the national Bicycle Friendly State rankings for five years in a row, farther and faster than any other state, ever.

    7 Responses to U.S. House Committee Tells USDOT To Reduce Walking and Cycling Fatalities and Injuries

    1. May 30, 2014 at 8:51 am

      I am grateful for the change in walking and cycling safety measurements. Safety is Priority 1!!!

      My suggestion would be to have the roads inspected by walkers and cylists, and not by vehicle inspections. Riding and walking all over the state I see lots of debrie and roads that are not safe – mainly road cracks, bulges in pavement, trash on side of roads. An example, my rude to Bethany Beach early this week across Indian River Inlet Bridge on the Southbound side was clean, but Northbound side was littered with trash such as plywood, stones, glass, etc that could easly cause someone a flat or throw them off balance that could lead to a fall if not focusing attention on pavement. It was like riding thru an obstacle course.

      Safe crosswalks is another safety factor….

      Thank you,


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    3. Amy Wilburn
      May 31, 2014 at 12:47 am

      Please make sure you report the problem conditions to DelDOT. And follow up. The more we speak up, the more they will listen to us.

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