Focus on Bicycling and Walking

The US DOT blog ran this headline last week.  “Collaboration the key to improving pedestrian and bicyclist safety.”  It was announcing the release of a report following up on the Road Safety Assessments that were performed across America with a focus on bike and pedestrian safety.  Here’s the report:

As part of the Safer People, Safer Streets initiative, the FHWA partnered with local agencies and stakeholders all across the country to look at pedestrian and walking conditions, and reported back on what they found.  Their holistic approach cuts across disciplines and agency boundaries, building new communities of practice.   This effort is a strategic realignment, placing people at the center of transportation, not any one travel mode.  Bicycling and pedestrian facilities are key components of a complete transportation system.

The Federal Highway Administration has been working to establish a strategic agenda for advancing bicycling and walking transportation.  They’ve been developing resources, building recommendations and initiating projects to foster conversation and raise awareness around biking and walking transportation safety, access and choice.  This report gives a narrative of the effort so far and discusses projects under development and next steps forward.  It is a compendium of tools and resources for citizens, professionals and managers.

Here are some excerpts from the report.  Page numbers noted are from the PDF file.  Check out Appendix 4 of the report for a full list of resources and tools for active transportation.

“The assessments for the Secretary’s initiative focused on building relationships.” (p16)
“During the assessment, participants observed cyclists riding on the sidewalk rather than on the roadway, which while not prohibited in that area, could indicate that cyclists do not feel comfortable biking on the street.” (29)
“Comprehensively addressing a problem may require more than one approach, including both engineering and non-engineering solutions.” (35)
“Many agencies have an incomplete picture of the extent of the use of and demand for safe walking and bicycling facilities.” (37)
Many roadway designs, whether constructed decades ago or quite recently, have prioritized driver comfort and safety over pedestrian and bicyclist comfort and safety.  Observed characteristics of disconnected networks for non-motorists included: Wide, multi-lane roads, without pedestrian facilities such as a median refuge or high-quality bicycle facilities, that contribute to high speeds and increase risk of exposure for nonmotorized users. (20).


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