Washington Bikes, the statewide bike advocacy organization, has helped add a measure in the Federal budget to improve road safety across the nation. Working with Washington Senator Patty Murray, the League of American Bicyclists and WA Bikes worked to make sure the safety of non-motorized travelers is considered by USDOT and state transportation departments.
It’s not often WA Bikes has a hand in influencing national policy, so this is pretty exciting for the Pioneer Square-based non-profit.
In essence, the budget tells USDOT to develop a “non-motorized safety performance measure” by next autumn. States will also need to “set a goal of reducing biking and walking fatalities in their state, and report back on their progress,” according to a joint press release from WA Bikes and the League.
The organizations are asking their supporters to thank Senator Murray for her work to make sure this makes it into the budget. You can do so using the League’s handy web app.
More details from the League and WA Bikes:
We did it! After a year of pushing for a non-motorized safety performance measure, we got it. On behalf of the League and Washington Bikes, thank you.
The budget bill passed by Congress on Saturday includes a directive to the U.S. Department of Transportation from Congress to develop a non-motorized safety performance measure. This directive will require states to set a goal of reducing biking and walking fatalities in their state, and report back on their progress.
We could not have done it though without the help of Washington state’s Senator Murray. She holds a leadership position in the Senate on transportation funding issues and advocated for the inclusion of this directive to make our streets safer for everyone.
Please help us thank Senator Murray for advocating for better biking and walking safety.
The now final budget, specifically under the Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development (THUD) appropriations, passed by Congress on Saturday includes a directive (see page 17) to the US Department of Transportation from Congress to “…to establish separate, non-motorized safety performance measures for the highway safety improvement program, define performance measures for fatalities and serious injuries from pedestrian and bicycle crashes, and publish its final rule on safety performance measures no later than September 30, 2015.”
What can we expect from this important advance for non-motorized safety? For one, this directive will require states to set a goal of reducing biking and walking fatalities in their state, and report back on their progress.
Additionally, the directive speaks directly to the federal Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP). While some HSIP projects in Washington state have included walking and biking improvements, they have also included other traditional street design considerations that make it challenging to comfortably walk and bike. Furthermore, HSIP in Washington state hasn’t had an explicit tie to walking and biking as its primary purpose is to address top-tier priority safety areas in the state’s Strategic Highway Safety Plan, Target Zero, and not overtly on walking and biking. This new directive’s rulemaking and reporting requirements will precipitate more accountability as to determine whether HSIP investments actually improve safety for those that walk and bike.
In the current Congress Senator Murray holds a leadership position in the Senate on transportation funding issues and advocated for the inclusion of this directive to make our streets safer for everyone. We at Washington Bikes can’t thank her enough for her leadership.