Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some of the most commonly asked questions:

  • Are bicyclists allowed to ride on the road?
    • Yes! In all 50 states, bicyclists are either considered vehicles or have the same rights and responsibilities as the operator of a motor vehicle. In general, bicyclists are legally allowed to ride their bikes on all public roads unless they have been specifically excluded, for example on expressways or limited access highways and bridges. The decision to prohibit bicyclists from certain streets and highways is made at the State or local level, depending on which agency manages the road in question.
  • Are bicyclists allowed to ride on interstates? And is it safe?
    • It varies by state. All states prohibit cyclists on at least some limited access divided express highways. Several states — Idaho, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming — permit bikes on virtually all interstates. Other states, like Missouri, simply don't address the issue, creating vague situations. New Jersey and Pennsylvania can issue permits for bicycle use for particular uses and locations. Interstates can be opened for bicyclists where no alternative route exists in many states, including:
    • • Alaska
      • Arizona
      • California
      • Colorado
      • Montana
      • Nevada
      • New Mexico
      • North Carolina
      • Oklahoma
      • Oregon
      • Texas
      • Utah
      • Washington
    • In all other states and the District of Columbia, bicyclists are not allowed to ride on interstates. However, even in these states there are exceptions to this rule where bicyclists are permitted to use a particular bridge that is part of the interstate system (e.g. I-66 in Virginia, I-70 in Kansas). It is important to note that beyond statutory law, state Departments of Transportation may have additional rules and regulations regarding bicycling on the interstate or other limited access highways.
    • For more information, the League of American Bicyclists provides links to many state bicycling laws.
  • Are bicyclists supposed to ride as far to the right of the roadway as possible?
    • No! Many state vehicle codes say that bicyclists should operate as far to the right as is practicable, and note that in many situations it is safer and more appropriate for bicyclists to operate away from the right hand edge of the roadway. For example, the right edge of the roadway can collect debris, broken glass, sand and gravel, and other potential hazards for a bicyclist, while drainage grates, crumbling roadway edges, utility covers, and other surface irregularities can create a dangerous situation for bike riders. So it is perfectly legal and acceptable for bicyclists to be riding in the middle of the right hand travel lane.
    • In addition, on streets with narrow travel lanes (for example 10 or 11 feet), bicyclists may feel more comfortable riding in the middle of the lane ("taking the lane") because there really isn't enough room for a motorist to safely pass them while staying in the same lane.
    • You can review your state vehicle code as it relates to bicycling by visiting the League of American Bicyclists. In addition, if you have any questions or concerns about the legal status of bicyclists in your community, you should contact the Alliance for Biking and Walking to see if there is a state or local advocacy group who may be able to help.
  • When should bicyclists ride on the sidewalk?
    • In general, bicyclists are better off using the road rather than the sidewalk. However, there may be times even confident cyclists sometimes choose to ride on the sidewalk because there is simply no safe place for them on the roadway. This choice should be made with a number of factors in mind:
    • • The legality of bicycling on the sidewalk. As a general rule, bicycling on the sidewalk is permitted in most communities unless specifically prohibited. This is almost always a decision made at the local level by a city, county, or township and there is no central source of information. Many communities ban cycling on sidewalks in their business districts or other locations with high levels of pedestrian activity or particularly vulnerable pedestrian populations (e.g. near hospitals or retirement communities). A number of Canadian cities limit sidewalk riding to bikes with wheels smaller than a twenty-inch diameter.
      • The sidewalk's width and surface material.
      • The frequency of interruptions from driveways, intersections, alleys and other potential conflict points.
      • The presence of curb cuts and transitions in the sidewalk.
      • The existence of parallel streets offering direct, fast, and convenient access equivalent to the major road.
      • The number of pedestrians using the sidewalk.
      • The awareness of turning motorists when going through intersections.
    • If a road is so scary that even confident adult riders use the sidewalk then children probably shouldn't be using either the road or sidewalk unaccompanied. The sidewalk is not necessarily a safe alternative.
    • In general, children up to the age of 9 or 10 should probably ride on the sidewalk on all but the quietest roads, unless they are accompanied by an adult. It is important they are trained to treat every driveway and intersection with extreme caution even while on the sidewalk. There is no magic age at which children become capable of riding safely in traffic; parents need to make that judgment call based on the child's ability to negotiate traffic situations and exercise good judgment as they ride.
    • More information on this topic is available from the League of American Bicyclists and the National Center for Safe Routes to School.
  • Are bicyclists required to wear helmets?
    • A number of states and localities have passed laws requiring the use of helmets by bicyclists -- usually targeted at children under the age of 16, although this varies widely. No states have yet passed a law requiring adults to wear helmets. However, the Canadian province of British Columbia's law requires all ages to wear helmets. Additionally several US localities have passed laws requiring all ages to wear helmets, including Dallas, TX; Oklahoma City, OK; Morgantown, WV; and numerous cities and counties in Washington that cover the Seattle metro area and beyond.
    • For the most up-to-date list of jurisdictions with bike helmet laws, visit Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute or www.safekids.org.
  • Do bicycle lanes improve safety for bicyclists?
    • The overall safety of on-street bicycle lanes is a highly debated topic. Those in favor of bike lanes argue that they improve safety because they encourage cyclists to ride in the correct direction, signal to motorists that cyclists have a right to the road, and remind motorists to look for cyclists when turning. However, others argue that bike lanes create a false sense of security for cyclists and that drivers easily overlook bike lanes.
    • While there are data for perceived safety, and surrogate (behavioral) measures — such as bicyclist direction of riding, sidewalk riding, and distance between passing motorists and bicyclists — that suggest improved safety, we don't have actual measures of safety effects via crash outcomes, and even the surrogate measures are not conclusive. Measuring impacts on bicyclist safety is a difficult undertaking as bicycle crashes with motor vehicles are relatively infrequent occurrences. In addition data about the amount of bicycling and under what conditions is sparse. Even less is known about many bicyclists crashing due to bicycle-only falls, crashes with fixed objects, pedestrians, or other bicyclists — data that, as far as we are aware, are not presently being captured in most localities. Certainly, providing space for bicyclists to ride on the roadway would seem to lessen the chances of conflicts and crashes with pedestrians and objects and possibly the types of collisions involving motor vehicles overtaking bicyclists, especially compared with insufficient shared roadway space or no bicycle facility.

    • There is also no study that shows any evidence that striping bike lanes on busy roads encourages children to ride on roads that are too dangerous for them. Parents still have to teach their kids where and when they should ride; safe routes to school should still be provided. The AASHTO Guide for the Development of Bicycle Facilities clearly says that one type of facility is not going to suit all riders all of the time.
    • Most critics note that bike lane safety depends heavily on drivers being attentive to the cyclists. Drivers parking in spaces adjacent to bike lanes need to check for cyclists when pulling into the space, opening their doors, or pulling out into traffic. A common and often severe car-bike collision is the "right hook," in which a driver turns right across a bike lane, without first looking to see if that lane is occupied. In these crashes, cyclists have very little time to react and may end up underneath the vehicle. Hazards such as these require that cyclists riding in bike lanes be attentive and anticipate drivers' actions as much as possible.
    • The safety of bike lanes also depends on their design. Transportation engineers are vigilant to ensure that bicycle lanes conform to ITE and AASHTO standards. Some cities are applying a new design concept, the sharrow, where inadequate space exists for bike lanes. Other agencies have used more innovative techniques to enhance bike lane markings, such as using blue or green paint to continue a bike lane through an intersection. One study in St. Petersburg, Florida, found that a combination of green paint and signing resulted in increased motorist yielding to bicyclists.
    • Providing space through bike lanes, wide outside lanes, or paved shoulders allows room for bicyclists to be overtaken safely by faster-moving motor vehicles. Obtaining sufficient before and after data, as well as data from comparison sites, to measure the safety impacts of bicycle lanes will require a huge effort and resources that, thus far, have not been available.
    • More Information:
    • Bicycle Lanes Versus Wide Curb Lanes: Operational and Safety Findings and Countermeasure Recommendations:
    • Evaluation of Shared-Use Facilities for Bicycles and Motor Vehicles
    • Bicycle Lanes (PBIC)
    • An Examination of Bicycle Counts and Speeds Associated with the Installation of Bike Lanes in St.Petersburg, Florida 
  • Is it safer for pedestrians and bicyclists to walk/ride with traffic or against traffic?
    • Bicyclists should ride with traffic, while pedestrians should walk facing traffic.
    • One of the keys to safe bicycling is to be as predictable and as conspicuous as possible so that motorists always know you are there and can predict what you are going to do. By riding against traffic — especially on the sidewalk — you make yourself almost invisible to motorists turning at intersections and driveways who may not be expecting or looking for road users coming from your direction. Indeed, as many as one in four bicycle/motor vehicle collisions involve a rider who is either riding against traffic and/or riding on the sidewalk.
    • In a lengthy article explaining why riding the wrong way against traffic is dangerous, author Ken Kifer explores the three principle dangers:
    • • Turning motorists are not looking where wrong-way riders are riding.
      • The motorist and bicyclist have limited time and little space in which to react to each others' presence.
      • The closing speed of a bicyclist and motorist riding head on into each other is higher than if the bicyclist and motorist were traveling in the same direction.
    • He also points out that riding with traffic decreases the number of vehicles passing you and doesn't bring you into conflict with bicyclists who are riding the right way with traffic!
    • Because the problem is so widespread and potentially dangerous, there are hundreds of brochures, leaflets, and other materials that encourage riders to ride with traffic. For example, the Florida Department of Transportation publishes a fact sheet on where to ride your bike. The Oregon DOT has a similar statement in its bicycling manual, and there are numerous city government publications that are similar.
    • Pedestrians, on the other hand, should always walk facing traffic. This allows pedestrians the opportunity to establish eye contact with oncoming motorists and to take actions to protect onceself if necessary.
  • What is jaywalking?
    • Most state and local codes do not reference the term jaywalking; it is not officially defined. It is slang for crossing a street at a point other than an intersection or marked crosswalk, or crossing against a traffic signal indication. Jaywalking is a derogatory term, implying the pedestrian is doing something illegal, unsafe or stupid (none of which is necessarily true). People naturally cross the street when and where they see fit. The legal context and safety implications of this behavior cause confusion.
    • All state vehicle codes state that pedestrians may cross at a point other than a crosswalk but must yield to traffic when doing so. Some state and local ordinances prohibit crossing away from a crosswalk between two adjacent signalized intersections, a circumstance that occurs most often in dense downtown environments. Crossing against a light is illegal, though the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices may change its recommendation for pedestrian countdown signals to allow pedestrians to start crossing when the flashing red hand is showing, as long they clear the roadway before traffic in the opposite direction proceeds.
    • The safety issues are equally misunderstood. In some instances it may be safer to cross away from an intersection, which gives a pedestrian the benefit of fewer conflicts with turning motor vehicles — the source of most crashes at signalized intersections. Ironically, crossing against the light is often done, as pedestrians look at traffic and wait for a gap. Pedestrians crossing with the light rarely look at traffic even though they are susceptible to being hit by turning vehicles and red light runners.
  • How do cell phones affect pedestrian and bicyclist behavior?
    • Although there has been extensive research examining the effect of cell phone use on automobile drivers, much less is known about how cell phone use affects pedestrian and bicyclist behavior. To date, studies have found that drivers using cell phones tend to be more distracted and less aware of their surroundings than drivers who are not using a cell phone. This distractedness can lead to increased reaction and braking times and increased incidences of collision.
    • Though the amount of research on pedestrian and bicyclist cell phone use is limited, the studies thus far have had similar findings. Several recent studies indicate that, similar to automobile drivers, pedestrians talking on a cell phone exhibited decreased awareness of their surroundings and increased levels of unsafe behavior. One study found that college-aged students talking on a cell phone were less likely to remember objects along a particular route than students who were not engaged in a phone conversation. Several studies have indicated that cell phone users take more risks when crossing the street. While most studies have focused on adult and college-aged populations, one recent study looked at the effect of cell phone use among preadolescent children, a group in which cell phone use is increasing. This study shows that pre-adolescent children are more likely to experience pedestrian collisions in a simulated road-crossing setting while talking on a cell phone.
    • Until further research is conducted, our understanding of the full effects of cell phone use on pedestrians, bicyclists, and other forms of non-motorized travel will remain incomplete. However, findings from this initial research indicate that pedestrians and bicyclists should refrain from using cell phones in high traffic areas, at street crossings, or other situations that require full attention. Because they are still learning how to behave safely around traffic, children should avoid using cell phones near busy streets or intersections and while riding a bicycle.
  • How many bicyclists and pedestrians are killed and injured each year?
    • In 2012, 4,743 pedestrians and 726 bicyclists were killed in crashes with motor vehicles. At the same time, more than 76,000 pedestrians and 49,000 bicyclists were injured.
    • Learn more about the bicyclist and pedestrian crashes and injuries at http://www.pedbikeinfo.org/data/factsheet_crash.cfm.
  • What is the economic cost of crashes involving pedestrians and bicyclists?
    • The National Safety Council (NSC) estimates that the comprehensive cost of each person killed in a traffic crash to be $4,459,000 (2011 dollars) and the average economic nonfatal injury cost per person involved in a motor vehicle crash to be $57,400 (2011 dollars). (See table below for comprehensive costs)
    •  
      Category Cost per Event 2012 Events Total 2005 Cost
      Bicycle Fatalities $4,459,000 726 $3.2 billion
      Bicycle Injuries $57,400 49,000 $2.8 billion
      Pedestrian Fatalities $4,459,000 4,743 $21.1 billion
      Pedestrian Injuries $57,400 76,000 $4.3 billion
    • Based on these estimates, the total cost of bicycle and pedestrian injuries and fatalities for 2012 was $31.4 billion.
    • According to the NSC, calculation of the economic cost of injuries includes "wage and productivity losses, medical expenses, administrative expenses, motor vehicle damage, and employers' uninsured costs." Calculation of the comprehensive cost of fatalities includes the economic cost plus "a measure of the value of lost quality of life which was obtained through empirical studies of what people actually pay to reduce their safety and health risks."
    • The average 2011 comprehensive costs on a per injured person basis were:
    • • Death: $4,459,000
      • Incapacitating Injury: $225,100
      • Non incapacitating evident injury: $57,400
      • Possible Injury: $27,200
      • No injury: $2,400
    • Source: The National Safety Council
  • How do we design a street that is safe for pedestrians and bicyclists?
    • There is no one size fits all answer—the design of a safe street will differ depending on the vehicle speed, traffic volume, and surrounding land uses. It is also important to consider nearby destinations and the needs of those who are trying to access those destinations by foot or by bike (e.g., a school, park, senior center, transit station).
    • A safe street requires more than simply providing space for bicyclists and pedestrians (through sidewalks, paths, paved shoulders, or bike lanes). Signal timing, turning restrictions, and the quality of pavement markings can also affect the safety of bicyclists and pedestrians.
    • Safety for all users should be a consideration along roadway segments and at intersections. Check out the Facility Design section for information about bicycle and pedestrian facilities and crossing treatments. The Federal Highway Administration publishes the Road Safety Audit Guidelines, which provide transportation agencies with a better understanding of the safety of bicyclists and pedestrians in the transportation system.
    • If your community is trying to address a crash problem at a specific location or meet performance objectives related to walking and biking, please check out PEDSAFE and BIKESAFE. These are free resources that include a countermeasure selection tool.
  • How can we improve yield-to-pedestrian compliance?
    • Drivers' failure to yield to pedestrians is a widespread problem that can be attributed to lack of knowledge, need for improved training programs, and inadequate mechanisms of accountability. Education programs backed up with vigorous enforcement measures often bring improvement.
    • Programs in states and cities that have improved yield-to-pedestrian compliance vary widely but have some elements in common:

    • • Institutional and political support for the program
      • Pedestrians (especially the most vulnerable — children and seniors) are taught to walk safely.
      • Motorists are taught to expect pedestrians on the roadway and know that they must yield to them.
      • Publicity measures remind motorists of their responsibility for pedestrian safety.
      • Yield-to-pedestrian ordinances are enforced consistently.
    • Enforcement is perhaps the most critical element of any program. For example, New Jersey's Division of Highway Traffic Safety provides funding for local police to increase enforcement in order to change driver behavior. During targeted police patrols at high pedestrian-crash locations, warnings and summonses are issued to motorists and pedestrians whose actions put pedestrians at risk. Yield-to-pedestrian laws are emphasized; failure to yield carries a $100 fine and a two-point license penalty. Similarly, a strong enforcement program helped reduce pedestrian crashes at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst.
    • Concerned citizens can lay the foundation for improved yield-to-pedestrian compliance with these steps:
    • 1) Create a list of the relevant rules of the road for the state and community. (This information may be found on the state's department of transportation Web site, or through the state or local bicycle/pedestrian coordinator.) Include:
    • • Specific state laws and local ordinances related to yield-to-pedestrians.
      • Special status and rights of pedestrians who are visually impaired (sometimes referred to as "white cane" laws).
      • The definition of a crosswalk (including the legal status of T-intersections).
      • Any due care provisions in the state code.
    • 2) Learn about other cities that have successfully increased yield-to-pedestrian compliance and note which educational programs could serve as models.
    • 3) Engage with local officials, magistrates, police and traffic officers to obtain a commitment to training and enforcement. Work with them to educate drivers through targeted enforcement at select locations; arrange media coverage.
    • Resources and More Information
    • Case study on improving yield-to-pedestrian compliance at UMass ("Cross Safely, Drive Safely
    • Case study on the N.J. Governor's Pedestrian Safety Initiative
    • San Jose, Calif., Street Smarts Campaign (education)
  • How can law enforcement improve conditions for pedestrians and bicyclists?
    • Law enforcement officers have several ways they can improve conditions for pedestrians and bicyclists including enforcement operations, progressive ticketing, and photo enforcement Inside.
    • Learn more in our section on Enforcing Pedestrian and Bicycle Laws.
  • How can I educate motorists about pedestrian and bicyclist status and rights to the road?
  • How much do bicycle and pedestrian facilities cost?
    • The cost of bicycle and pedestrian facilities varies greatly depending on the current cost of materials, rights-of-way needs, and topographic site features. Comprehensive cost information, as well as important considerations in choosing and installing facilities are found in the Costs for Pedestrian and Bicycle Infrastructure Improvements paper.
  • What funding is available for my pedestrian or bicycle project?
    • Funding for pedestrian and bicycle facilities and activies comes from a variety of government agencies and non-government organizations. Some Federal programs that frequently fund these projects include the Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) and the Contgestion and Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) Improvement Program.
    • To learn more about the myriad funding opportunities, please view our page on Funding Sources
  • How much does the federal government spend on improving conditions for walking and bicycling?
    • In the years before passage of the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 (ISTEA), Federal spending on bicycling and walking facilities was approximately $4-6 million per year. ISTEA was reauthorized when the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21) was enacted on June 9, 1998, which authorized Federal surface transportation programs for highways, highway safety, and transit for the 6-year period from 1998-2003. After several extensions of TEA-21, the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act -- A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU) was passed into law on August 10, 2005, which authorizes Federal programs for the 5-year period from 2005-2009. Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21) was passed on June 29, 2012 and covers funding from 2013 forward.
    • For more information, see our section on Funding.
    •  
      Year Obligation (in millions)
      2006 $394.9
      2005 $399.9
      2004 $427.1
      2003 $422.7
      2002 $416
      2001 $339
      2000 $296
      1999 $204
      1998 $217
      1997 $238.7
      1996 $197.2
      1995 $178.6
      1994 $112.6
      1993 $33.6
      1992 $22.9
      1991 $17.9
      1990 $6.6
      1989 $5.4
      1988 $4.9
  • Are states and cities required to have a pedestrian and bicycle coordinator or pedestrian and bicycle plan?
    • Federal transportation law requires every state to have at least a part-time bicycle and pedestrian coordinator in their Department of Transportation. Most states have chosen to make the position full-time, and many have added support staff and technical experts to create bicycle and pedestrian programs.
    • The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) provides a list of state bicycle and pedestrian coordinators.
    • There is no equivalent requirement for cities or counties to have a bicycle and/or pedestrian coordinator, but an increasing number of communities are choosing to make this commitment. Search the State Contacts page to find a professional near you.
    • Cities need bicycle and pedestrian plans to assess current conditions and to set forth policies, programs and projects to make walking and bicycling more desirable. Commonly, such plans contain existing facility improvement and new construction recommendations. Plans may also recommend policy and maintenance needs, and outline agency responsibilities. Truly effective plans give high priority to encouragement and education programs designed to promote bicycling and walking.
    • Learn more about pedestrian and bicycle plans in our section on Sample Plans.
  • How much does it cost to develop a pedestrian and/or bicycle plan?
    • It can vary widely, depending on the specific scope of the plan, but the range is probably somewhere between $25,000 and $500,000. Obviously the answer depends on a lot of variables and assumes that the development of the plan will likely be done by outside consultants. Factors affecting the cost include:
    • • The population and area covered by the plan.
      • If the plan will cover both bicycle and pedestrian issues or just one of the two.
      • Whether the plan is primarily a policy document (setting standards, policies, guidance, etc.) or one that results in the identification of a network of facilities for bicyclists and pedestrians, and will the planning extend to include engineering drawings and studies for particular projects.
      • The level of public involvement.
      • The total completion time.
      • The number of maps and other significant printed pieces.
      • The number of copies to be printed, and the use of color.
      • The inclusion of bicycle and pedestrian suitability assessments and/or levels of service analyses.
      • The expertise of the agencies involved. For example, is this their first nonmotorized plan or update? Do they have extensive GIS capabilities and experience?
    • So, a small city might be able to develop a useful plan for a bicycle network, which prioritizes projects and establishes bicycling policies, for under $100,000. However, that amount of money wouldn't go far in a city like Los Angeles or Chicago, unless the plan was primarily a policy document. Large cities, such as Philadelphia or Houston, might need to spend $300,000 to $500,000 to get a plan that identifies a network of bike facilities, rewrites city policy and design manuals to include bicycling, and has an appropriate amount of public involvement and outreach.
    • Few pedestrian-only plans have been developed in the United States, and those cities that have adopted them -- for example, the City of Portland, OR -- have often done the work in-house with their own staff. The Maricopa Association of Governments Pedestrian Master Plan, covering the Phoenix metro area, cost approximately $200,000 and included the development of new tools for analyzing pedestrian needs and improvements. It is also important to note that these figures only relate to the development of the plan. The cost of plan implementation varies greatly and can project over long periods of time.
    • Sample plans are provided in the Sample Plans and Policies page.
  • How do I start a pedestrian and bicycle advisory committee?
    • Step 1: Create an Official Committee
    • A pedestrian or bicycle advisory committee can be created a the local level by local officials passing a resolution, or at the state level through an agency directive at a law passed by state legislators. Creating an official pedestrian or bicycle advisory committee for two reasons:
    • 1.) It will immediately make decision makers aware of the board and its importance while also educating them on the importance of pedestrian issues.
      2.) An official board cannot be easily disbanded or ignored when the decision makers change.
    • Step 2: Recruit and Interview Committee Members
    • Pedestrian and bicycle advisory committees should be made up of about eight to fifteen people; often state committees are larger than local committees. In order to prevent discontinuity within the committee, the Chair position should not be a rotating position. To create an effective, balanced, and diversified pedestrian and bicycle committee, all prospective candidates should be recruited and interviewed. A letter of interest and a resume should be required. The interview should be like any other job interview. There are three qualities to look for in prospective pedestrian and bicycle advisory committee members:
    • 1.) Candidates need to have the interests of the broader community in mind rather than be focused on an issue close to home or they are likely to leave once their issue has been addressed.
      2.) Candidates should have a history of volunteerism; experienced volunteers will be more likely to attend meetings and commit the time needed to make the committee successful.
      3.) Candidates need to be good listeners and have a collaborative approach to problem solving.
    • Pedestrian and bicycle advisory committees will only be effective if their members reflect the community they represent. Gender, race, age, type of walker (casual to fitness walkers), and the geographic location of residence for each applicant should be considered to ensure a balanced, representative board.
    • Step 3: Determine Logistic Support
    • Staffing a Pedestrian and Bicycle Advisory Committee should require about four to eight hours a month. Direct services should be limited to providing a meeting place and attending meetings. Minutes and meeting notices are typically done by the Committee members, usually by email, but can also be done by a secretary on loan to the Committee from a state or local agency. The Committee might benefit from secretarial support to take notes or transcribe audio tapes, write minutes, send out announcements, make copies, schedule rooms, etc. However, the more responsibilities the Committee members take the more effective they will be.
    • Step 4: Provide Pedestrian and Bicycle Committee Members with Timely and Useful Information
    • An informed committee will be a better board. For example, in Seattle, Committee members get together once a year for an all day, facilitated retreat. As part of the retreat, Seattle Department of Transportation staff conducts a short training sessions on pedestrian design issues. One of the purposes of the training is to help participants better understand things that can't be changed (e.g. shape and color of a regulatory sign) versus things that involve more choices and engineering judgment (e.g. determining the number of lanes needed on an arterial that is being reconstructed).
    • Step 5: Set the Committee Agenda
    • The board chair should coordinate with agency staff and departmental representatives to develop a list of topics for Committee review and input. The relationship of the agency with the Chair is critical to the success of the Committee. Typically, the Committee will want to provide input on agency policies, programs, and projects. Committee meetings should feature a presentation on one of these topics. This makes every meeting important and ensures good attendance and participation. The Chair should invite the program or project manager to participate and present at the committee meeting. The person who staffs the Committee should help with the presentation. This builds teamwork and can make presenting to a citizens' group a positive experience.
  • What are the benefits of integrating bicycle and pedestrian facilities and transit?
    • There are many benefits to integrating bicycles and transit for both transit agencies and travelers. Bicycling and public transit are both great transportation options that can reduce congestion, improve air quality, and reduce automobile dependency. When done in conjunction with one another, transportation options and potential destinations abound.
    • Benefits for bicyclists
    • Combining transit use and bicycling can provide benefits to cyclists of all levels in a number of ways, including:
    • • Providing a contingency plan: Having transit options may give bicyclists an alternative mode home if they experience unexpected difficulties, like a flat tire or bad weather. Having multiple transportation options helps provide assurance to bicycle commuters that they will be able to get to work or get home, even if something unanticipated does happen.
    • • Dealing with seasonal weather: Summers in the south and winters in the north can bring extreme weather and unpleasant riding conditions. Bicyclists can ride when weather permits and use transit otherwise. Having multiple options can increase the chance that travelers will use a mode other than a personal vehicle.
    • • Enabling bicyclists to go longer distances: Sometimes distance can make bicycling an impractical or impossible transportation choice. In these cases, bicyclists may be able to use transit in conjunction with bicycling to make their trip more manageable.
    • • Jumpstarting recreation: Transit may be able to provide the missing link for riders who do not have easy access to recreational riding areas by offering a means for them to reach more desirable places to ride, such as mountain biking trails or greenways. Some areas, like Dallas, Texas and the Puget Sound area in Washington, have begun to highlight transit access to recreational trails and parks.
    • • Making it easier for new riders: Sometimes bicycle commuting can be intimidating or physically challenging at first. Combining bicycling with a transit ride can enable new riders or those who are uncomfortable with some sections of their trip to avoid potential barriers, like hills, bridges, or high-traffic roads.
    • Benefits for transit agencies
    • By supporting the integration of bicycling and public transportation, transit agencies provide improved service for their riders. In turn, transit agencies may attract new riders or encourage current riders to use transit more frequently. If riders are able to bicycle to transit stops, the catchment area for transit riders increases significantly. According to a survey of bicycle on bus (BOB) riders in Florida, one quarter were new transit riders and 80 percent attributed this change of mode to the bike on bus program (Hagelin, 2005). The integration of bicycling with transit can benefit transit agencies in the following ways:
    • • Increases the catchment area for transit riders: Since bicyclists can travel faster than walkers, they can typically travel greater distances without increasing their commute time. Some estimates indicate that transit riders are willing to walk a quarter to a half mile to reach a transit stop, while bicyclists may travel upwards of two miles.
    • • Improves the public image and attractiveness of transit: By offering and effectively marketing new services, transit agencies may encourage riders and non-riders alike to think differently about transit service. Enhanced service and new perceptions of public transportation may encourage riders to try transit for the first time or may help retain current riders.
    • • Captures different trip purposes: The new services and facilities that a bicycle-transit program offers may encourage riders to use transit for trips that they previously had not. For instance, users may use transit on the weekend or at night for social or recreational activities that use bicycles.
    • • Builds partnerships: By enhancing alternative transportation options, transit agencies may build or strengthen relationships with environmental groups, bicycle advocacy groups, and others trying to reduce the environmental impact of transportation, reduce congestion, or decrease automobile dependence.
    • • Saves money: Bicycle-transit integration investments can be a relatively inexpensive way for transit agencies to enhance service, improve their public image, and increase ridership.

 

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