USA Today: DOT head challenges mayors on bicycle, walking safety

Secretary Foxx asks Mayor Peduto, Peers to Improve Bicyclist and Pedestrian Safety

Secretary Anthony Foxx Anthony Foxx, the Secretary of Transportation is in Washington D.C. today urging Mayor Bill Peduto and other attendees at the US conference of Mayors to improve bicyclist and pedestrian safety.

Secretary Foxx spoke in Pittsburgh in September 2014 at the Pro Walk Pro Bike Conference and related similar concerns about the safety those who travel by foot and by bike. He also unveiled, Safer People, Safer Streets, a new national bike and pedestrian safety plan.

The initiative announced today encourages the city leaders to make use of data and information from the Department of Transportation and to adopt best practices from municipalities around the country. With nearly 300 mayors in attendance from cities with populations of 30,000 or larger, there will be plenty of information to glean for the benefit of Pittsburgh’s thousands of bicyclists and pedestrians.

By Larry Copeland | USA TODAY

As more people opt to walk instead of drive and as bicycling continues to grow in popularity, traffic deaths of pedestrians and bicyclists have been trending upward for several years, at a rate higher than motor vehicle fatalities.

While pedestrian deaths dropped slightly in 2013, bicycle fatalities continued to rise, and bike and pedestrian fatalities combined now account for nearly 17% of all road deaths, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, who became all-too-familiar with the issue as Charlotte’s mayor when two young boys were killed by a truck as their father walked them to day care, wants to change that.

Today in Washington, D.C., he will challenge mayors and other elected officials to improve safety for walkers and bicyclists in their cities over the next year. His ” Mayor’s Challenge” will urge participants at a U.S. Conference of Mayors meeting to attend a special summit in March and then spend a year working to make their cities safer for bikers and walkers.

The mayors and others will have access to DOT data and resources – along with proven approaches from their own cities – to create bike and pedestrian safety programs. “(The summit) is open to all mayors,” Foxx said in an interview. “If we can get a critical mass of mayors involved in this … it will create a groundswell across the country.

Read the full article on the USA Today website.

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