December 1, 2013
The League of American Bicyclists recently called on its members asking them to drum up support for newly introduced legislation that would enact safety measures to reduce pedestrian and bicyclist fatalities. The bill is called the Bicycle Safety and Prevention Act, and it has been introduced in the house as well as the senate. The bill is targeted at changing the existing transportation law to set up more safety strategies that are targeted at reducing the risk of fatal injuries involving pedestrians and bicyclists.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that there had been an increase in the number of pedestrian bicyclist or non-occupant fatalities In 2012. In fact, the fatalities have been increasing steadily over the past couple of years, even as overall traffic accident fatality numbers have been on the decline. The bill has been sponsored by Representatives Peter DeFazio, Democrat- Oregon, Earl of Blumenauer, Democrat- Oregon, and Michael McCaul, Republican Republican-Texas. In the Senate, the bill is being induced by Senators Kelly Ayotte, Republican-New Hampshire, Jeff Merkley Democrat-Oregon and Brian Schatz Democrat-Hawaii.
The bill is a simple piece of legislation that says that the federal administration should set for itself a goal of reducing bicycling and pedestrian accident fatalities. The bill would require that the Department of Transportation set a target for itself to reduce bicycle fatalities, and work towards reducing these fatalities.
It is not that common to have lawmakers debating legislation that is aimed at helping prevent bicycle accidents. Now that legislation like this has been introduced, bicyclists and bicycle safety groups must rally to support the bill and ensure that it’s passed. While greater awareness of bicyclist rights can help reduce the risk of accidents, it is also important to have laws that protect bicyclists.