Next week, DOT is hosting the second of our two Bicycle Safety Summits. Our host city this time is Minneapolis, where the number of bikes on the roads has increased by 56 percent over the past six years, according to the 2012 City of Minneapolis Bicyclist and Pedestrian Count Report. During the same six years, the number of pedestrians has increased by 22 percent.
With the number of bicyclists and pedestrians on the rise, it's more important than ever to think about their safety. That goes for drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians themselves, as well as the City of Minneapolis and the US DOT. And with next Monday's Midwest Regional Bike Safety Summit, that's exactly what we're doing.
No one is more pleased than I am about the steady increase in the number of bikes that have appeared on our nation's streets, paths, and trails over the past few years. Here at DOT, we've worked pretty hard to help nurture the resurgence of bicycling--not just as recreation, but as transportation.
However, we have also seen an increase in the number of bicyclists killed in motor vehicle crashes.
Data released earlier this month by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reveals that, in 2011, 677 cyclists were killed on our nation's roadways, a 9 percent increase from 2010 to 2011. Every single fatality is one too many, and this increase in the number of bicyclists killed is especially alarming.
At DOT, we refuse to believe that this is the price of success--that an increase in the share of bikes on our nation's roads should be expected to lead to an increase in bicyclists' share of road deaths. That's a cynical position that I do not accept, and that the men and women in NHTSA and the Federal Highway Administration who work hard every day to improve road safety do not accept.
And that's why we're going to Minneapolis. In Minnesota, bike deaths have actually declined in each of the last four years. Clearly, they're doing their part to keep people safe. And I hope we can take some of what they're doing in Minnesota to help other states see similar results.
Because our job is never done when it comes to safety. We can do more to protect those Americans who choose to pedal their way to work, school, and wherever they need to go. We know we must, and we know we can.
So I look forward to the Midwest Regional Bike Safety Summit next Monday, where we will hear from experts about the steps that have worked, and where we can discuss how to implement those best practices in communities across the nation.
It's a conversation we can't afford not to have.
To learn more about the Minneapolis Bike Safety Summit, please visit our summit website.