Asks support for bike, walker safety

COURTESY TO THE BELLINGHAM HERALDNovember 28, 2013 

Joy Covey helped catapult Amazon from a small company to the global powerhouse it is today. Earlier this year, on a bicycle ride in San Mateo County, Calif., she was struck by a van and killed. She was 50.

Joy is one of hundreds of people killed while bicycling or walking on our streets each year. This has to change -- and a one sentence bill in Congress could do it.

Between 2010 and 2011 the overall number of roadway deaths dropped by 2 percent -- but the number of bicyclists killed increased 9 percent and pedestrians by 3 percent. We see the news stories far too frequently; and yet, while people who bike and walk make up 16 percent of roadway fatalities, less than 1 percent of safety funding is directed to infrastructure for biking and walking.

Last week, a coalition of bi-partisan House lawmakers introduced the Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Act, which will require the specific safety targets for all roadway users -- not just motorists, but pedestrians and bicyclists, too. The legislation offers the flexibility to determine the best method to meet these safety measures. A simple safety measure, this bill says clearly that the lives of all roadway users are important -- and creates accountability toward ending needless deaths.

Without it, people who bike and walk will remain in the blind spot of our transportation system.

Tell your lawmakers to vote for this bill.

Joe Wiederhold

Bellingham

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