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Benchmarking Walking and Bicycling in D.C.
A bicyclist pauses at 14th and U streets. Photo by Jess J.

A bicyclist pauses at 14th and U streets. Photo by Jess J.

The Alliance for Biking & Walking released its “2010 Benchmarking Report” on bicycling and walking, showing data from all 50 states and the 51 largest U.S. cities. The Washington, D.C. factsheet reveals that the city compares favorably to the national average when it comes to the percent of trips by bicycle and foot: 12.1% of trips made in the District are by non-motorized transport, compared to 9.6% of trips in the rest of the country. (Note: this particular statistic is from 2001 data – apparently, the national average has increased by three percentage points since then.)

Sadly, 43.4% of all traffic fatalities in the city are bicyclists and pedestrians, compared to only 13% nationally. (One recent high-profile case occurred during the Nuclear Security Summit in April, when journalist Constance Holden died after being struck by a security truck.) That might explain why the percentage of federal dollars spent on bike-ped safety is more than 10 times greater than the national average. Also, the percentage of obligated funds for the Safe Routes to School program is also higher in D.C. than overall across the country.

Another apparent weakness in D.C.’s bicycling policy: the District doesn’t have a law establishing a complete streets policy, as opposed to 18 states that do.

To download the complete factsheet, click here.