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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.

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  • Severin Skolrud

    I CANNOT BELIEVE DC doesn’t have a complete streets policy! Our nation’s capitol lacking such an amazing piece of legislation, unbelievable. The adoption of the act would most definetely help in decreasing bicycling/pedestrian deaths.

    Currently, there is a great piece of legislation going through the House titled ‘The Active Transportation Community Act (HR 4722).’ This bill would establish a $2 billion competitive grant for communities to implement new, safe bicycle and pedestrian pathways. Over 90 percent of Americans want more access to bicycle/pedestrian walkways and this bill is a great way of providing communities with alternative modes of transportation rather than personal vehicles.