Although the League of American Bicyclists rejected Detroit's application for recognition as a bike-friendly community, bicycle riders may feel optimistic that news coming out of Washington D.C. could mean Detroit will soon become better for bikers. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx spoke at the 2014 National Bike Summit about all of the great things that the government is doing, and wants to do, for bicyclists.
Unfortunately, the real truth is that the federal government isn't doing nearly enough and this is unlikely to change any time soon. The risk of bicycle collisions has increased in recent years, with nine percent more riders reportedly losing their lives in 2011 compared with the prior year. In Michigan alone, 21 bicycle riders were involved in fatal accidents in 2012 and a total of 1,981 bicyclists were involved in collisions. Something needs to be done and proposals out of Washington that will never lead to laws is not enough.
Bike riders who are injured because of collisions caused by poorly designed roads or negligent drivers have a legal right to compensation. Accident lawyers in Detroit can assist victims harmed by a bicycle crash.
Federal Government Efforts Fail to Provide Protection to Bicycle Riders
At the National Bike Summit, Secretary Foxx touted the $150 million in projects over the past few years that the TIGER program has undertaken to improve bicycle networks across the country.
A $150 million investment sounds good, until you consider that the United States spends about $160 billion annually on highways and the federal government provides a quarter of that money. A 2012 report showed that while bicycle and walking trips make up 12 percent of trips nationwide, only 1.6 percent of federal transportation dollars go towards pedestrians or bicycle riders.
Secretary Foxx also indicated that President Obama has proposed a $302 billion proposal for American transportation, which includes an increase in resources to improve pedestrian and bicycle programs. The only problem is, the proposal was part of a federal budget that has no chance of currently passing.
While this money is not going to be forthcoming to make infrastructure improvements for bicycle riders in Detroit, several U.S. senators are trying to take legislative action. The Safe Streets Act of 2014 has been introduced and would require that local states and municipalities develop a Complete Streets plan within two years.
A Complete Streets plan means that all road users are considered at all phases of projects for road design, including walkers and bicyclists. If the Safe Streets Act passed, states would need to use the Complete Streets plan for all transportation projects that used federal monies. Unfortunately, it's not clear if the act will pass. Even if it does, it doesn't address existing infrastructure or education on bicycle safety. It also gives the municipalities two full years even to come up with their plan. There's no reason for such a long delay, especially when 238 jurisdictions nationwide already have plans in place and there are proven and tested principles for how to make roads safer for everyone.
Accident lawyers in Detroit can help victims of a collision. Contact Fraser & Souweidane P.C. at (866) 465-9095 to schedule a free consultation.