On my way to work each day, I am reminded of how appreciative I am for my life and the family and friends I have had throughout. The reason for this is because back on February 13th, I left my apartment complex and drove past the scene of a local bicyclist dying on the side of the road. He died before an ambulance or authorities even arrived. A white painted bicycle with flowers that is still present commemorates Robert Niedbalec and the mission for safer roads.
The reason I bring this daily routine and story up, is to stress the importance of investing in safer roads for bicyclists and pedestrians. This includes building and/or extending bicycle lanes, adding better sidewalks with more defined crosswalks and even widening roads as a whole. Without these improvements, there will be many more scenes like the one I witnessed across the US.
With the transportation bill reauthorization being discussed in Washington on a consistent basis, it is important that you realize a few things. The most recent proposal from John Mica did not include funding for bicycle and pedestrian programs, as part of his drive to consolidate federal transportation bureaucracy. Congressman Mica is a fraternity brother of mine that I have had the joy to spend some time with at various events. While I share his love for our fraternity, I have to disagree with his charge to eliminate this funding.
Transportation funding has a large impact on making roads safer for those without vehicles. Just because the roads are mainly used by motorcycles, cars and trucks does not mean that bicyclists and pedestrians aren’t also using them to get from point A to point B. These are also the people at the highest risk of dying should a motorist lose control. While I agree that we need to be more fiscally responsible as a country, it is important that we are not cutting things that affect the lives of Americans, especially those that actually put their lives at risk!
– Ben Dundas, Web Analyst
Follow me @ben37dBG
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