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Schatz Legislation To Make Streets Safer For Those Who Walk, Ride Bikes Passes Senate In Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill

Legislation Will Improve Road Safety Standards, Help Reduce Pedestrian, Cyclist Deaths

WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Senate passed legislation authored by U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i) that will improve road safety standards and make streets safer for everyone. The Vulnerable Road Users Safety Act, which Senator Schatz worked to include in the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, utilizes technology, infrastructure, and design expertise to vastly reduce pedestrian and cyclist road deaths in Hawai‘i and across the United States.

“For too long, transportation policy has been focused on how we can fit more cars on our roads, but that isn’t the only way people travel,” said Senator Schatz, Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Housing and Transportation. “My legislation will make it safer for everyone to use our streets, whether it’s on foot or on a bike, and I’m pleased we were able to bring it one step closer to becoming law.”

In just a decade, the number of pedestrians killed by vehicles nationally rose by roughly 50 percent. And for cyclists, the death rate also remains high, with more than 800 people killed while riding a bike in 2019 alone. The Vulnerable Road Users Safety Act aims to stop this troubling trend. Specifically, the Schatz legislation implements National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recommendations and directs the administrators of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and/or Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to:

  • Develop and update performance standards for visibility enhancement systems (i.e. for blindspot detection), connected vehicle technology, and vehicle headlamp systems;
  • Establish standards for vehicle bumpers;
  • Establish performance standards for automated pedestrian detection systems like automatic braking sensors;
  • Include pedestrian and bicycle crossing improvements and on- and off-street pedestrian bicycle facilities and intersection safety treatments in the FHWA’s innovative infrastructure deployment programs; and
  • Improve and coordinate information collection to share, combine, and publish detailed crash data allowing policy makers and governments to make data informed decisions.

Schatz’s provision is supported by the Hawai‘i Bike League, Adventure Cycling Association, America Walks, American Planning Association, Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals, Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund, East Coast Greenway Alliance, League of American Bicyclists, North American Bikeshare Association, National Association of City Transportation Officials, National Resources Defense Council, PeopleForBikes, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, Safe Routes Partnership, and the Vision Zero Network.


Related Issues

  1. Housing & Transportation