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Publication Number:  FHWA-HRT-15-004    Date:  May/June 2015
Publication Number: FHWA-HRT-15-004
Issue No: Vol. 78 No. 6
Date: May/June 2015

 

Guest Editorial

Pedaling Toward a Safer System for Bicyclists

Photo. Headshot of Tony Furst, Associate Administrator, FHWA Office of Safety. Photo. Gloria Shepherd, Associate Administrator, FHWA Office of Planning, Environment, and Realty.
With the return of warmer weather, many people are heading out on two wheels. The increase of bicycling is evident in the growing number of bike share programs in cities across the country, upward trends in bike commuting, and the commitment of more and more communities to create connected bicycle transportation networks.

Communities, schools, and workplaces across the country are celebrating National Bike Month by holding events in May to promote bicycling. For example, Bike to School Day 2015 is May 6. More than 2,200 schools participated in this event in 2014, which is double the number of schools that took part in 2012. And 2015 is likely to show additional growth. The increased participation in this event is another indication of how bicycling has become more popular in recent years.

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx is committed to improving safety throughout the transportation network and is mobilizing U.S. Department of Transportation resources to increase opportunities for Americans to walk and bike. For example, this year, in each State, division, and regional office, staff from the Federal Highway Administration, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Federal Transit Administration, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, and the Federal Railroad Administration are working together to conduct assessments of the real-world challenges that bicyclists and pedestrians face on roadways. The assessments bring together Federal, State, and community partners to identify challenges and barriers and to work together to make improvements.

Building on years of support for walking and bicycling options, FHWA is advancing new efforts to make bicycling safer, more convenient, and more comfortable. For instance, in October 2014, the agency released a new version of BIKESAFE, an online tool that communities can use to identify solutions for bicyclist safety issues.

The agency also has produced several new guides to help make infrastructure safer for bicyclists. The Road Diet Information Guide (FHWA-SA-14-028) supports and encourages the use of road diets because of their proven ability to improve the safety of all roadway users while also providing an opportunity to reallocate excess roadway width.

In addition, FHWA’s Separated Bike Lane Planning and Design Guide will help practitioners plan and design separated bike lanes (also known as cycle tracks and protected bike lanes). Separated bike lanes are exclusive facilities for bicyclists that are located within or directly adjacent to the roadway. The lanes are physically separated from motor vehicle traffic, so many people feel more comfortable riding in them. For more information on separated bike lanes, see “Let’s Ride!” on page 2 in this issue of Public Roads.

These recent actions are the latest in a broad range of policies and tools provided by FHWA to support walking and biking. More information and resources are available on FHWA’s Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Web site at http://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/ped_bike and Bicycle & Pedestrian Program site at www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/bicycle_pedestrian. And to each bicyclist riding to work, errands, or play this season, know that the safety of all users of the transportation network is USDOT’s top priority.

Tony Furst
Associate Administrator FHWA Office of Safety

Gloria Shepherd
Associate Administrator FHWA Office of Planning, Environment, and Realty

 

 

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