Is the U.S. Finally Getting Serious About Alternative Transportation?

The Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood announced at the National Bike Summit that:

Today, I want to announce a sea change. People across America who value bicycling should have a voice when it comes to transportation planning. This is the end of favoring motorized transportation at the expense of non-motorized.

We are integrating the needs of bicyclists in federally-funded road projects. We are discouraging transportation investments that negatively affect cyclists and pedestrians. And we are encouraging investments that go beyond the minimum requirements and provide facilities for bicyclists and pedestrians of all ages and abilities.

LaHood went on to unveil his Policy Statement on Bicycle and Pedestrian Accommodation Regulations and Recommendations.

Obviously, it’s too early to tell what this all means for transportational cyclists and pedestrians, but to me it looks like a VERY positive step in the right direction. About time, too…

From the blog via Bicycle Stories (thanks for the tip, Alan!)


  1. Ghost Rider

    I should add that a lot still rests in the hands of state DOTs and governments…and we all know that some get it (Washington State, California, Minnesota) and some don’t (Florida, anyone?). Let’s also hope this federal push convinces some of the lagging states that things need to change.

  2. Richard Masoner

    Even in California (which recently officially adopted a Complete Streets policy), some regions push back hard against any policy that are seen to de-emphasize cars in any way. Costa Mesa, for example, refuses to make traffic signal adjustments to recognize bikes, because then they’d have to adjust signal timings to give the intersection 3 more seconds of green so bikes have time to get across, and that would just hose up the whole works of the entire rest of the system for cars. All of Orange County is pretty much like that.

  3. Ghost Rider

    Surprising…a lot of folks think of California as a green innovator — or at least DID — but this isn’t the first time I’ve heard about cities fighting back against alternative transportation. I’m thinking of the legal challenges to San Fran’s bike plan and the Long Beach fight against bicycle boulevards to name two.

    It’s disappointing, for sure.

  4. Rich Froh

    I ride on roads. I ride fast. I ride competently, obeying traffic laws and interacting with other traffic. I rarely – VERY rarely – get threatened or harassed by motorists or cops. I live where there are, thankfully,very few “bike facilities”, so I’m free to travel by bicycle anywhere roads go(and I do).

    The people who are threatening my right to use the road aren’t the vehicle drivers – they are the segregationist, “bicyclist inferiority” purveyors and do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do social engineers masquerading as greenies and bike (AND NOT “BICYCLIST”) advocates.

    I don’t WANT to be shoved to the back of your bus! I don’t WANT separate entrances, restrooms, or lunch counters for bicyclists.I don’t want to be counted as 3/5 of a vehicle by your transportation “non-engineers”.

    I’m a bicyclist, not a bike, and you lemmings who rush on to the segregated bike “facilities” are ruining my riding and sacrificing my freedom. We need education, not more pavement!

  5. Raiyn

    Oh lookie here now it’s another of Mossy John Forrester’s acolytes trying to turn this into something it’s not.

    You’re not Rosa Parks do don’t even play that game.

  6. Raiyn

    Damn typos

    You’re not Rosa Parks so don’t even play that game.

    Ahh much better.

  7. Ghost Rider

    Thanks, Raiyn — I couldn’t have said it better myself!

    The policy statement isn’t just limited to off-street accomodations…it seems to include design for regular roads with or without striped bike lanes, sharrows or any of that. Frankly, it is just too early to tell how this all will play out, but it is definitely a move in the right direction.

  8. Raiyn

    Don’t get me wrong – we certainly need more cyclist education, but I get really tired of Forrester’s elitist flunkies trying to play this bullspit martyr card whenever someone dares mention bike lanes etc.

    Bike lanes are no panacea, (as evidenced by some truly crap-tacular ones near me) but they do get people out on a bike and (more importantly) off the sidewalk.

  9. Ian Cooper

    Just found this. I think it would help if people wouldn’t frame this as a cyclists vs. drivers issue.

    Somehow I think the recession will cut into any bicycle infrastructure proposals, so the infrastructure advocates will, once again, have to wait and maybe at some point they’ll get some time to consider whether their chosen strategy has any chance of working. At the current rate, ‘bike infrastructure’ will attain universal US coverage so that everyone can ride their bikes on it veerry slloowwlly by about 3000AD. By that time, the statistics on bike path accidents should be pretty conclusive, and bike infrastructure advocates may be having a harder time dismissing the facts.

    Meanwhile, the cyclists among us continue to use the US road system. It was built by cyclists for cyclists and it’s been used successfully by cyclists for over 100 years. I see no reason to give it up for any amount of 4ft wide concrete ribbon that’s designed to get us out of drivers’ way.

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