DOT Hosting Second Bicycle Safety Summit

The April 29 event is set in Minneapolis, where the number of bikes on the roads has risen by 56 percent during the past six years.

The second DOT Bicycle Safety Summit takes place April 29 in Minneapolis, where the number of bikes on the roads has increased by 56 percent during the past six years, according to the 2012 City of Minneapolis Bicyclist and Pedestrian Count Report. During the same period, the number of pedestrians rose by 22 percent.

DOT’s Fast Lane blog pointed out bicyclists represent a larger percentage of the overall number of annual traffic deaths. In 2011, the number of bicyclists killed as a share of total fatalities was 2.1 percent, a 40 percent increase in the past decade as a percentage of all traffic deaths.

"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," Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood wrote. "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. 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."

The latest high-profile bicycle casualty was an injury rather than a fatality, fortunately. U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, 74, fell from his bike last Friday near the Korean War Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., and broke a bone in his right shoulder. He underwent successful reverse shoulder replacement surgery at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital, according to a U.S. Supreme Court news release.

"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," LaHood wrote. "Every single fatality is one too many, and this increase in the number of bicyclists killed is especially alarming. 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."

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