April 16, 2014 SIGN IN | REGISTER

Lawmakers Seek Investments to Make Bicycle Commuting Safer

Alex Wong/Getty Images File Photo
Sires is proposing an $11 million low-cost loan program to help state and local governments build sidewalks, trails and dedicated bicycle lanes.

Much of the nationwide surge in cycling has occurred in urban centers such as Detroit, where the number of bicycle commuters increased eightfold from 2011 to 2012. The infrastructure in the Motor City has not kept pace with this trend and there are few safe options for bicycle riders.

The legislation introduced by Sires would dedicate 25 percent of the funding for low-income communities such as Detroit that havenít been able to invest as much in bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure as cities such as Washington, D.C., Minneapolis and Portland, Ore.

With the current surface transportation authorization set to lapse at the end of September, enthusiasts hope to include an increase in funding for bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure in the next highway bill.

The proposal by Sires isnít the only legislation designed to make commuting by bicycle safer. A House bill (HR 3494) sponsored by Congressional Bike Caucus founder Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., would direct the Transportation secretary to establish new road safety standards and metrics to measure the number of fatalities and serious accidents for non-motorized transportation per miles traveled. The data would help states and localities in their transportation planning.

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