Monday, February 13, 2012

Red State Roads??


This letter to Representative Tim Scott is based upon an "op-ed" essay published today in the e-mailed publication "Charleston Currents."

Dear Rep Scott:
This is a red flag about “Tea Party” thinking on transportation spending. The last thing our own red state roads need right now is more red-state thinking. Times may be tough, but scarcity of dollars is no excuse.
I am referring specifically to your response to constituents’ pleas that you re-consider elimination of funding for non-automotive forms of transportation. In your response, you said: “There is no question that bicycle and walking paths enhance the likeability and safety of a community. [but] ……we must first fund maintenance objectives of vehicular routes ..we will remain committed to looking for ways to meet the needs of our crumbling infrastructure systems. The day will certainly come again that we can afford the rising cost of bicycle and walking infrastructure projects.” 
In other words, “no” to spending on alternative forms of transportation like bicycling and walking, as if these are frivolous “extras.” Charleston Moves and other bicycle/pedestrian advocacy groups argue just the opposite – that beginning now to invest in bicycle/pedestrian infrastructure is actually the fiscally responsible, practical thing to do.
I'd like to convince you that you are thinking inside same old transportation box. Lopsided cars-and-trucks-only spending means getting around only by cars and trucks because we haven’t made it safe to walk or ride a bike — even for the shortest trips.  Forcing everyone into cars means more cars, more pavement, more high-cost road maintenance fees for the long-term, not to mention more costly congestion — congestion on our roads as well as in our own veins and arteries.  One reliable estimate pegs the time lost in traffic for some drivers at as high as 40 hours per year, a full work week, with 3 billion gallons of gas wasted at a price of $78 billion spent idling. Meanwhile, a mere 3% reduction in cars on the road results in 30% less congestion.
Don’t look now, Congressman Scott, but this way of thinking about streets and roads has a huge price-tag. Without safe sidewalks and paths to walk or bike to school, American kids are ahead of kids around the world in obesity rates. They are falling further and further behind in academic achievement (study after study shows that physical activity has a direct, positive correlation to cognitive performance). Hopping in your car to go a few blocks for a loaf of bread directly impacts health care costs, not to mention pollution, reliance on foreign oil, even overall community health and happiness, what used to be called “the commonweal.”
If you and your congressional colleagues are serious about curbing the high costs of Medicaid, a good start would be investing in preventative measures such as inexpensive bicycle and walking trails. Health savings resulting from increased physical activity, according to 10 different studies, range up to $1,175 per person per year. And just think about personal liberty: the freedom to choose your own mode of transportation.
Beginning now, as we repair our roads and bridges, we must incorporate sidewalks and bike lanes. It’s cheaper if we do it now. It isn’t mere “likability and safety” as you refer to it. Rather, it is about how transportation infrastructure impacts our communities and our lives.  It is also about fairness and equity, about serving the varied transportation needs of all citizens.
Many of your own constituents can’t afford to drive cars.  The very folks we all see riding bikes to their jobs pay taxes, too. Some of them have no choice —they can’t afford cars. Others simply sometimes choose not to drive. (Reasons? Fresh air, exercise, pollution and traffic avoidance.)
All those non-motorists deserve our thanks.  The fewer folks behind the wheel of a car, the less severe our traffic jams. The more people walk or bike, the less likely they are to clog hospital emergency rooms. It benefits everyone’s pocketbook.
This broader perspective isn’t “Tea Party,” liberal, conservative, Republican or Democrat. It is smart planning for a healthier, more sustainable future. In California, for the cost of repaving 3 miles of interstate, CalTrans could create 1,250 miles of bike lanes on existing roadways—and this holds true across the country. One car parking space costs between $3000 - $5000 dollars (in a parking deck, one space costs tens of thousands); meanwhile 50 bicycles can be parked in the space needed for only 4 cars. From a cost-benefit analysis, paving the way for more bicycle access is cheap, prudent and forward-thinking transportation policy. 
Economic doldrums may limit our budgets, but we can’t afford to limit our thinking. A smaller transportation funding pie is no excuse not to give transportation choice — bicycling and walking — a fair slice. Far from “frills,” it’s an extremely smart investment.
Tom Bradford, Director
Charleston Moves

Sunday, February 12, 2012

List of "Don'ts" for Women Cyclists (1895)

(Courtesy of listsofnote.com and my friend Sandy Teller)
One hundred seventeen years ago, bicycles had become the rage.  Balloon tires had transformed travel on two wheels.  Autos were on the horizon, but not a factor, and going for bike rides was a major social event.  Races were big, too.  But the ranks of cyclists had been swelled by huge numbers of women, giving rise to new concerns about modesty and propriety.
On June 21st of 1895, the "Newark Sunday Advocate" ran an alarming story — syndicated from New York World — about a recent gathering of the Unique Cycling Club of Chicago; an event that saw two lady riders publicly punished/shamed for having the audacity to turn up wearing short skirts over their bloomers.  Accompanying the news story was a list of "Don'ts for Women Riders."

Transcript follows. Click here for a larger image. Huge thanks to the wonderful brainpicker for bringing it to the attention of the folks at listsofnote.com

It's worth a few seconds to download the document to check it out!
Bloomers

Friday, February 10, 2012

Contact Your Senators and Representatives!!


Charleston Moves Joins the Palmetto Cycling Coalition and bicycle advocacy groups around the nation to spread this urgent notice.  
For Charleston, this could be horrible! Funding for the Ashley Crossing, for the West Ashley Greenway and many, many more projects could be affected!

Both chambers of Congress are developing versions of the Federal transportation bill that are detrimental to bicycle funding. We've already asked you once this month, and we're already asking again: please contact Congress to save bicycle funding that is extremely valuable to South Carolina.

Act on Key Transportation Votes.  The current Senate transportation bill dilutes walking and biking programs. To improve the bill, we're asking Senators Graham and DeMint tovote for the Cardin-Cochran amendment on the floor to guarantee local governments a voice in transportation decisions, allowing them to build sidewalks, crosswalks, and bikeways that keep people safe. Tell Senators Graham and DeMint:
  • Local governments deserve a maintained voice in transportation;
  • Safety matters--particularly in SC where we we are ranked 49th for bicycle safety; and 
  • Active transportation is a wise investment that pays off in the long-term 
In the House, we are asking representatives to oppose the House transportation bill entirely. Despite the fact that walking and bicycling infrastructure is a low-cost investment that creates more jobs per dollar than any other kind of highway spending, the House bill eliminates dedicated funding for walking and biking. Tell your Representative that the current transportation bill (HR 7):
  • Takes us back to the 1950's
  • Is not cost effective and does not invest wisely
  • Eliminating the Safe Routes to School program makes streets unsafe for children 
_____________________________________________________________________________________________

Why now, why again?  Both Chambers of Congress are developing versions of a new Federal transportation bill to update the last bill, of which we are currently operating on the 8th extension. As they are working to develop these bills, both the House and Senate continue to make motions to eliminate funding for biking and walking. Last week, we needed your support as were working to get House Committee votes in favor of an amendment to protect bicycling and walking. Today's alert, and future ones that are sure to come, are to let Congress know that we will not stand for these short-sighted bills.SC's Members of Congress needs to know that that finding effective, efficient transportation solutions to keep South Carolinians safe on the streets should be a national priority. 

This debate matters to South Carolinia, so please contact your Senators and Representativestoday. And, the battle is far from over, so stay tuned to future alerts where we will need you yet again.

Thank you so much for your support and time. 
_____________________________________________________________________________________________
Take action, and thanks! 


Thanks to our America Bikes affiliate organizations for helping us send this message in a timely fashio

..from the desk of the director..


Charleston Moves is at a crossroads. We've been making big gains, but we're about to suffer a big loss.

We've got real traction. We've become become an effective, persuasive and pervasive voice for a more vibrant, active kind of living in our community that includes chances to travel other than by car.

We championed getting a lane over the Ashley. Now, it’s in the works, awaiting further funding and engineering work.  But it’s already a victory.

We are leading the charge to find a safe, legal way for people on foot or on bikes to use the James Island Connector (or a portion of it).  It involves a lot of behind-the-scenes work.   Some of us in our all-volunteer organization are putting in full-time hours on this issue.

Why is the Connector so important? Because there’s no other safe way between downtown Charleston and James Island. Because it’ll be a key link in the Battery2Beach route, a planned 32-mile-long bike/ped route stretching from Isle of Palms through East Cooper and via the battery all the way to Folly Beach.

It's also the keystone in an ambitious plan by Charleston County Parks and Recreation to link all county park facilities together for cyclists and pedestrians.

But there’s much more. Charleston Moves own Chris Tullmann has been reviewing as many as 60 street and road projects, in many cases nudging them toward improvements everyone will welcome.  He put back the bike lanes on drawings for Route 17 in Mount Pleasant.  He’s working with engineers on the configuration of Spruill Avenue.  His expertise has been welcome more widely than you might imagine.  He ‘s among the people who get the first round of plans for projects on the drawing board.

But Chris is leaving Charleston. His lovely wife Paige, a surgeon, has received a very desirable appointment to a prestigious hospital in Boston.  So, Chris, Paige and their son Max are headed back to the northeast.

But we’re not taking this lying down.  We’re actively campaigning for the funding necessary to hire his replacement – full-time – as well as a support staff.

Charleston is poised to enter a new era of spectacular progress.  So is Charleston Moves.  Se what you can do to help.  

To do this correctly, we must raise many thousands of dollars.  It is time for Charleston Moves to re-open a full-time office and step our efforts up.

This isn't your normal funding pitch.  This is a watershed moment.  Charleston Moves can help greater Charleston immeasurably.  Can you pitch in?








Tom Bradford, Director

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Range of Opinion in Letters to the Editor

CHS Mercury Letter to Editor 2 '12



But, it's not all bad.
From the opposite side of the spectrum, in today's Post and Courier:


Connector cyclists
I don't understand closing the James Island connector to one form of vehicular traffic. The bicycle is the cleanest mode of transportation there is. I believe every road should have enough space on the shoulder to allow bicyclists to travel without harm from larger vehicles.
There is more than adequate space along each side of the connector to allow bicycle traffic. One cyclist was killed, it is true, but that reportedly resulted from the driver of a van not paying attention. There are no trees or other obstacles to block vision on that span of road.
In Mount Pleasant the driver of a four-wheel vehicle slammed into -- not one but two -- motorcyclists who were sitting at a red light. They were killed. Did we see Mount Pleasant banning motorcyclists from Highway 17? I certainly don't remember that happening.
If a ban on cyclists exists on the connector, why isn't there a ban on all highways? Danger is present wherever a roadway is shared by cyclists and autos.
Space alongside lanes for automobile traffic on the connector is marked with a painted line. If the line is not sufficient then put up a barrier that is. Yellow posts at intervals might work, as might studs on the road surface to alert drivers they are moving into an area not meant for them. Or a concrete barrier.
Why punish those who want a simpler means of transportation because of this accident? It's a step backward.
We need to be more strict with drivers of machines that can prove lethal. We are rewarding the wrong element with this decision.
Change this decision, and simply make the ride safe for the environmentally conscious.
Alfred F. Croucher III
Riverland Drive
Charleston


Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Saying Goodbye to Chris



Chris Tullmann has accomplished more for "complete streets" in Charleston in a short amount of time than anyone could have imagined.

A LEED-certified engineer and avid cyclist, Chris saw a need, rolled up his sleeves and pitched in for Charleston Moves.  Chris met and developed relationships with countless road engineers, neighborhood groups and more.  And when he called on the engineers, he had an easy way about him, calmly suggesting small shifts that wound up making a huge difference for Charleston's bike-friendliness.
Chris charted a new course for Charleston Moves.  His generous contribution of time and talent made it clear that we have no choice but to replace him.  And frankly, it can't be done further on a volunteer basis.  Our community must rally to make it possible to hire an engineer to do the work Chris has been doing, being a practical liaison to road engineers and community groups alike.
He invented the job description: Make a list of street and road projects planned or underway.  Find out which engineers are working on them.  Call them, visit them.  Examine the plans with them.  Make suggestions.  Find the leaders of the communities for which the projects are planned.  Meet with them and find out their hopes for the project.  Make suggestions.
All in all, Chris' contributions were spectacular.
Now, Charleston Moves is mounting a major fund drive to acquire funds necessary to hire his replacement.  If you can help (or know someone who would be interested in helping), please drop me a note at tom@tombradford.net
We'll miss him, his wife Paige and their son Max.
We hope Chris can continue to do some work for Charleston Moves.  We know he'll be an asset to his new community.
Some of his friends are getting together for a farewell.  More information by clicking here.

Connector Bike Ban: What's Next?


We're working with other organizations on a variety of fronts to reverse the Connector bike ban.  By far the most promising avenue is a possible amendment to state law that would allow for for a waiver to the law that bans bikes (as well as pedestrians and other forms of transportation) from limited access roads.

Work is proceeding on that amendment.  We'll keep you posted on progress.

Charleston Moves is trying to advance discussions that would 1/allow the waiver to state law and let people use the Connector  2/put forward a plan that would route cyclists over the Legare (Rte. 17) bridge, and via Albemarle and adjacent roads utilize a leg of the Connector that would make it possible to cross the river without crossing an on-ramp or off-ramp.  Of course, this will be entirely dependant upon officials finding the funds to complete the work on the Legare Bridge tentatively OK'd.
Riding bicycles on freeways has long been against South Carolina law, but in Charleston, this was ignored in the case of the connector because there was (and is) no route begtween the peninsula and James Island that is anywhere near as safe as the Connector. This all changed when SCDOT erected the signs banning cyclists, pedestrians and others.  Charleston Police then had little choice.  They'll enforce it -- but for now, apparently, there'll be no tickets written, just warnings.  (That could all change if someone creates a "scene.")
Meantime, while there's been plenty of talk about a mass protest, we advise no such action unless it has a specific focus: a pending government decision or something else that would give it real meaning and purpose.

Still Nudging Harborview Road


Upcoming Meeting Could Finalize Plans

Last year, working with the James Island group "Will You Remember Our Trees," we made great progress toward a better plan for the reconstruction of Harborview Road.
Charleston County Roadwise had submitted a reconstruction plan that struck us as horrible: an ugly high-speed more than two-mile long gash through a number of residential neighborhoods.  The real clue about just how bad it was: the fact that there were no provisions whatsoever for even a single pedestrian crosswalk!

But ultimately, County Councilman Joe Qualey showed great leadership, coming up with a compromise plan that saved many trees and included pedestrian crosswalks as well as a better plan for bicyclists and pedestrians. (The previous plan had a bike path that meandered through the trees and crossed dozens and dozens of side streets and driveways, a no-no. Planners have learned that motorists concentrate on the road intersection ahead of them, and not on these paths and the people on them, a fact that leads to higher accident rates.)


Not only did Charleston Moves wish to promote a road more suitable for the neighborhood, but we were also sticking up for our own vision of our Battery2Beach Route.  A portion of that planned 32-mile bike/ped route will very likely utilize Harborview Road.

The next crucial meeting is a county-sponsored "public information meeting" to be held on Thursday, Feb. 16 from 6-8 p.m. at Stiles Point Elementary School (883-A Mikell Drive; Charleston, SC 29412).


What's crucial is to keep the bike lanes on the street, to make sure there are safe places for pedestrians to cross, and to hold down the speed limit on the road. There is bound to be a lively discussion about safe intersections.  Charleston Moves continues to believe that one or two intersections should be designed as roundabouts.  We point to the extraordinary success of roundabouts on Mathis Ferry and Rifle Range Roads.  Mathis Ferry Road carries substantially higher volumes of traffic, all of it nicely metered by the roundabouts. 

HERE IS THE DRAFT POSITION OF THE STILES POINT PLANTATION HOMEOWNERS ASSOCIATION, WITH WHICH WE AGREE:


We strongly [reject Alternative A] and support Councilman Qualey’s proposal Alternative B

Why?
  • It better preserves the essential, traditional character of James Island.
  • It reduces the overall width of the “Typical Section” from 69’ to 61’.
  • It reduces the tree/s and shrub/s hack down from 271 trees to 91.
  • The two bike lanes are returned to the roadbed rather than crossing over numerous driveways as the “multipurpose path” would do. This is the preferred option by cyclists. (including Charleston Moves)
  • The road narrows from 3 lanes to 2 lanes from Affirmation Boulevard to the Fort Johnson intersection.
Are there any other considerations or recommendations?  

Yes.  Please consider the following:
  • Install traffic control devices as follows:
    • A roundabout or a traffic light (operating during peak hours on school days) at the intersection of Harborview and Ft Sumter in order to improve overall traffic throughput.
    • A roundabout or a traffic light at the intersection of Harborview and Mikell Drive to control traffic going to the Stiles Point Elementary School complex.
    • A roundabout at the intersection of Harborview and Ft. Johnson to improve a difficult, acutely angled intersection which is difficult to navigate for reasons of visibility.
  • Install pedestrian crosswalks at the intersections of Harborview and: Mikell, Affirmation, Quail and Ft. Sumter to connect the sidewalk on the south side of Harborview with neighborhoods on the north side. Currently, parents are unwilling to let their kids walk along the road for reasons of safety and difficulty to cross on foot or with a bicycle.
  • Extend the sidewalk and bike lanes to the James Island Creek bridge and beyond. This is currently an unmarked and unsafe area to walk or ride a bike.
  • Designate that traffic entering Harborview from North Shore Drive can turn right only. This is a dangerous intersection and a major cause of morning congestion.
  • Do not add additional turn lanes on Harborview. With the above changes they are unnecessary and detract from the scenic nature of the community.
  • Utilize rounded (S-shaped) curbs along Harborview as a safety measure for bikers and cars to avoid other traffic, if necessary.  
Charleston Moves continues actively involved in these discussions.  Stay tuned.  This has been a critical debate.   And it's not over yet.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Supporting Bike/Ped Funding on a National Level


TAKE A MINUTE TO READ ALL OF THIS.  ALL OF THIS.  

(first, this from the League of American Bicyclists' President Andy Clark:

Greetings! 

Congressman John Mica (R-FL) has announced the introduction of the American Energy and Infrastructure Jobs Act. The proposed bill eliminates dedicated funding for bicycling and walking as we feared, and it goes much further and systematically removes bicycling from the Federal transportation program. It basically eliminates our status and standing in the planning and design of our transportation system -- a massive step backwards for individuals, communities and our nation. It's a step back to a 1950s highway- and auto-only program that makes no sense in the 21st century.  

The bill reverses 20 years of progress by:  
  • destroying Transportation Enhancements by making it optional;
  • repealing the Safe Routes to School program, reversing years of progress in creating safe ways for kids to walk and ride bicycles to school;
  • allowing states to build bridges without safe access for pedestrians and bicycles;
  • eliminating bicycle and pedestrian coordinators in state DOTs; and
  • eliminating language that insures that rumble strips "do not adversely affect the safety or mobility of bicyclists, pedestrians or the disabled."  
On Thursday, the House Transportation and Infrastructure (T&I) Committee will mark-up the bill and Representatives Petri (R-WI) and Johnson (R-IL) will sponsor an amendment that restores dedicated funding for Transportation Enhancements and Safe Routes to School. Representatives Petri and Johnson can only be successful if everyone with a stake in safe sidewalks, crosswalks, and bikeways contacts their representative today.  

Because of these urgent new developments, and the vital importance of a HUGE turnout on Capitol Hill in March, the National Bike Summit early bird registration deadline has been extended to Feb 20. We need every single cyclist in Washington, D.C. that the city can hold (and that's thousands ...). Register today!

Stay in touch by visiting bikeleague.org and americabikes.org for background and breaking news.   

Sincerely,


Andy Clarke
President, LEAGUE OF AMERICAN BICYCLISTS
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THE LOCAL ANGLE....
AND AN INSTRUCTIVE EXCHANGE, THANKS TO DR. MARK GREENSLIT IN SUMMERVILLE.


(In response to the bad news about the transportation funding bill, many in our region wrote to Rep. Tim Scott asking him to reconsider, and support bike and pedestrian funding in the transportation funding bill currently under consideration.
Our colleague Mark Greenslit in Summerville took a very constructive approach in this dialogue.
But first, here is a paragraph taken directly from Rep. Scott’s response to the many e-mails he received imploring him to support the bike/ped infrastructure spending.)

“There is no question that bicycle and walking paths enhance the likeability and safety of a community. As we prioritize our spending needs, we must first fund maintenance objectives of vehicular routes. Over the next few cycles, we will remain committed to looking for ways to meet the needs of our crumbling infrastructure systems. The day will certainly come again that we can afford the rising cost of bicycle and walking infrastructure projects.”

Here is Dr. Greenslit’s response:

Rep. Scott,
Thank you for your reply. As a fiscaI conservative, I understand your concerns. However, investment in cycling and walking infrastructure is good for the nation's bottom line.
As health care costs continue to increase, in large part, due to obesity related disease, our country needs to make every effort to make provisions  our citizens to safely walk or ride a bike for transportation and receation. It doesn't take many  avoided hospital stays from Medicare patients to pay for a bicycle and walking trail.
More people cycling and walking means less traffic congestion, less wear and tear on roads,  and increased worker productivity, due to fewer sick days. Fewer people will be on disability, and will continue to pay taxes, rather than be a drain on the system.
  More people on bikes also means less dependence  on foreign oil.
For those  who can't or don't drive, a bicycle provides needed transportation, and can be the difference between staying employed and getting unemployment checks from the government.
I urge you to reconsider your position, and support the construction of infrastructure for bicycling and walking. It is in our nation's best financial interest.
Thank you.
Mark Greenslit, MD
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NOTE: Mark's reasoning is nothing but sound. Rep. Scott, like so many others falls into the void of ignorance about the role of bicycling and walking, seeing them as trivial, recreational considerations instead of their proper place in transportation thinking: important in many ways.
We all do well to read and remember Dr. Greenslit's strong reasoning here.  Take the time to write Rep. Scott and other members of YOUR congressional delegation.

Save Bicycle and Pedestrian Funding!

This is from the Rails to Trails Conservancy. Congress is looking at removing all the Transportation Enhancement money related to Bicycles and Pedestrians from the latest Transportation bill. We need to have everyone contact them at let them know that using money to support all modes of transportation is better for everyone. It costs less, it saves more, it makes the US more independent, it is better for our health, ... Don't let congress kill the progress that is being made around this country.

Locally we have a lot of projects that can not be funded any other way; like the Ashley Crossing projects on the Legare Bridge and James Island Connector. With out funding, there is little hope of making the updates needed for a safe and connected community.

Please follow the links below, or contact your representatives on your own. We only have a few more hours before the vote, so do it now.

Thank you!

...........................................................................................................................

We aren't exaggerating when we say this ask has never been more urgent.

Please read more and take action now. We have until 4 p.m. EST today to have our thoughts heard.

Tomorrow, Thursday, February 2, the Transportation and Infrastructure (T&I) Committee in the U.S. House of Representatives will be voting on our nation's next multiyear surface transportation bill.

There's no way to spin this: From the perspective of trails, walking and bicycling, the bill is a total disaster.

Among its worst features are:

  • It eliminates dedicated funding for the Transportation Enhancements (TE) program—the nation's largest funding source for trails, walking and bicycling. (Terrible news, but we expected it.)
  • It removes the rail-trail category from TE eligibility.
  • It completely eliminates funding for the Safe Routes to School program.
  • It eliminates funding for bicycle and pedestrian coordinators at state DOTs.

But there's still a chance...

Representatives Tom Petri (R-Wis.) and Tim Johnson (R-Ill.) are considering the introduction of an amendment in the committee that would right many of the bill's wrongs.

But they need to hear from other committee members that their amendment has a fighting chance.

Please: Take two minutes and ask your representatives to defend trails, walking and bicycling. We only have until 4 p.m. EST today, so any additional support you're able to gather will make an enormous difference!

Thank you,

Rails-to-Trails Conservancy

From a Charleston Area Mom: Wear Your Helmet!!

Hello,

I hope it's ok that I'm contacting you directly! I'd like to thank you for the information that I have found on www.charlestonmoves.org.

In the Fall, my son was in an accident involving his bike that would have been far less severe had he been wearing a helmet (isn't that always the story!). He survived and has fully recovered, however I don't think that bike safety can be stressed enough and I'd like to share this article I found with you...

"Ride Your Bike Safely"
http://www.motosport.com/atv/ride-your-bike-safely-article

I would strongly urge you to add this link as an additional resource to your links area (http://www.charlestonmoves.org/resources.htm) so that anyone that may come across it will realize how important it is to stay aware on the roads...regardless of vehicle!

There are a lot of unnecessary accidents every year in this country, and my hope is that at the very least, when someone even sees the title of this article, the idea will be planted in their mind to be a little more cautious and ensure their child's safety.

Thank you again for the information and please don't hesitate to contact me if you post the link, I'll certainly be curious!

Thank you,

Tori and family.

South Carolina: Bottom of the Heap on Bike Safety

On a biennial basis, the Alliance for Biking and Walking releases the U.S. Bicycling and Walking Benchmarking Report. This project is an on-going effort spearheaded by the Alliance to collect and analyze data on bicycling and walking in all 50 states and the 51 most-populated U.S. cities.

In the 2012 Report, released on January 23, South Carolina ranks 49th among states for bicycling safety. The Report shows that while 2.1% of work trips in South Carolina are by bicycle or foot, bicyclists and pedestrians account for 11.9% of traffic fatalities in the state.

Lack of investment in bicycling and walking could be to blame. When compared to the national average, South Carolina spends very little on bicycling and walking investments. Just 0.6% of federal transportation dollars, or $0.95 per capita, are spent on biking and walking projects. This puts South Carolina at 46th among states for investing in biking and walking.

The Report is a glaring reminder of the importance of federal programs that invest in biking and walking. Even though South Carolina's investment of federal transportation dollars remains low when compared to other states, without these programs, it is certain that virtually no funds would be invested from other sources. Local and state investment relies on a Federal match in funds, and without these Federal funds, very few communities would be willing to foot the entire bill for biking and walking programs.

Read more about South Carolina's ranking in the report on the Palmetto Cycling Coalition's website and blog. And please--contact your member of Congress! Visit our blog