Share the Road

With warmer weather bringing the bicycles out of storage, keep an eye out for cyclists, whether you’re walking, driving or riding a bike yourself.

| June 12, 2009

As more people take to the roads on their bikes, this reminder comes from U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood: Everyone needs to pay attention when using America’s roads, whether they’re walking, biking or driving.

More and more Americans are taking up cycling, and the fatality numbers mirror that increase. In 2007, 698 cyclists were killed in the United States.

Bicycling has been embraced by many baby boomers. Whether they’re riding for fun, exercise or to save on gas, more people are riding bicycles, according to the latest National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) statistics. The aging trend can also be found in NHTSA’s latest fatality statistics. For the 10th straight year, the average age of persons killed on bicycles has increased. Research shows that in 1997 the average age of a person killed in a bicycle crash was 31; in 2007 it increased to over 40.

"Our roads and communities must be built to allow people to get around safely outside of their cars, on bike or on foot,” LaHood says. “These statistics show that our transportation program needs to have a much greater focus on making our roadways safe for bicyclists."

Since 1992, the Department’s Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has provided more than $4.5 billion in federal aid for bicycle and pedestrian safety programs. The states have used federal-aid funds to construct shared use paths for bicyclists and pedestrians, and to provide bicycle lanes and bicycle parking, and other highway safety features to reduce fatalities and to increase bicycle use. FHWA also actively promotes bicycle safety through Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center and the National Center for Safe Routes to School. These efforts balance FHWA’s commitment to easing traffic congestion with keeping roads safe for all users.

“The most important thing bicyclists and motorists need to remember is that they both share the road equally,” says NHTSA’s Acting Deputy Administrator Ron Medford.

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