May 1, 2013
The Department of Transportation has been slowly increasing its focus on bicycle safety, spurred by a spike in the number of fatal bicycle accidents being reported from across the country. The federal agency recently hosted its 2nd Bicycle Safety Summit, this one in the city of Minneapolis.
The Bicycle Safety Summit will focus on engineering enhancements, planning and education strategies, enforcement and education and will involve inputs from national experts in these areas. The Summit will also include a Bicycle Safety Expo which will present new strategies to keep bicyclists safe in accidents, including safer helmet designs, better communication strategies and better training.
The first summit had been held in Tampa, where Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood insisted that a focus on engineering enhancements, education and enforcement are important to reduce the number of people killed in bicycle accidents across the country.
California bicycle accident lawyers have no doubt that education and awareness alone will not suffice to reduce the number of people being killed in these accidents. The fact is that many of our cities, including those in California, are simply not built for bicyclists. Engineering enhancements, in the form of extensions of the current bike lane network must be undertaken in order to provide safer conditions for bicyclists.
It’s also important to keep in mind the basic safety needs of bicyclists when building or fixing roads. That doesn’t seem to happen currently. Most roadway enhancement projects take into consideration the needs of motorists, convenience, and better management of peak hour traffic than the needs and safety of bicyclists. That attitude definitely needs to change, and hopefully, these bicycle safety summits will help launch a national conversation about bicycle safety in the right direction.