If you care about Jacksonville ever having safe bike lanes and sidewalks, this message from the Bicycle & Pedestrian Advisory Committee (BPAC) highlights why time is of essence in saving what's left of the City of Jacksonville's 2030 Mobility Plan and Fee.
Make no mistake - JACKSONVILLE NEEDS CHANGE TO OUR BIKE/PED FACILITIES.
Image by Sharon Bensing. Photo Editor, Ana Kamiar, MFA
Jacksonville is currently one of the worst cities in the U.S. for deaths and injuries to bicyclists and pedestrians. This conclusion is reached by independent nationwide studies by the Alliance for Biking & Walking, and by Transportation For America:
1. In 2005-2007, Jacksonville had the worst bicyclist/pedestrian fatality rate of the 51 biggest cities in the US. (2010 Alliance for Biking and Walking Benchmarking Report, page 14). This was because Jacksonville had the worst pedestrian fatality rate and 5th worst bicycle fatality rate.
2. In 2007-2009, Jacksonville was 50th out of 51 cities in bicycle/pedestrian fatality rate. It was the 2nd worst place to walk, and the 3rd worst place to bike. Thus, its bicycle safety rating actually got even worse. (2012 Alliance for Biking and Walking Benchmarking Report)
3. In the last 10 years, Jacksonville was the 3rd most dangerous city in the U.S. for pedestrians. (“Dangerous By Design 2011 – Solving the Epidemic of Preventable Pedestrian Deaths” by Transportation for America)
Yet, as bad as the above statistics are, JACKSONVILLE HAS BECOME EVEN WORSE IN THE PAST 2 YEARS. Consider the statistics recently announced by Sheriff Rutherford:
4. From 2011 to 2012, bicycle fatalities in Jacksonville increased 80%. (March 1, 2013 T-U article quoting Sheriff Rutherford)
5. From 2011 to 2012, pedestrian fatalities increased 39%. (March 1, 2013 T-U article quoting Sheriff Rutherford.)
This problem is disproportionately worse for minorities. Hispanics and African-Americans, on average, driver less and walk more. Nearly 20% of African Americans and 14% of Hispanic families live without a car. (Dangerous By Design 2011, page 17-18) By comparison, from 2000-2009, overall U.S. fatalities to motor vehicle occupants were lower by 27%.
Bicycling and walking levels are on the rise. The total number of bike trips in the US tripled between 1977 and 2009. (“Analysis of Bicycling Trends and Policies in Large North American Cities: Lessons for New York”, by John Pucher, Rutgers University & Ralph Beuhler, Virginia Tech, 2011). Between 1990 and 2009, the number of bike commuters rose 64% in large cities in the U.S. (“Analysis of Bicycling Trends and Policies in Large North American Cities: Lessons for New York”, by John Pucher, Rutgers University & Ralph Beuhler, Virginia Tech, 2011). In 2001, 43% of trips were for utilitarian cycling to 54% in 2009. (“Analysis of Bicycling Trends and Policies in Large North American Cities: Lessons for New York”, by John Pucher, Rutgers University & Ralph Beuhler, Virginia Tech, 2011).
US Department of Transportation (1994, 2004) has set a goal of increasing the percentage of trips by bicycle while improving safety. The rationale for promoting cycling is that it would shift some trips from the car, thus reducing roadway congestion, parking problems, air pollution, noise, and energy use. Both the US DOT and the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control advocate active transport such as bicycling for physical activity that would help combat the worsening obesity epidemic.
In 2010, “Bicycling” Magazine ranked Jacksonville as one of the three worst cities in the U.S. for cycling.
Nationwide, deaths and injuries to bicycle riders spiked upward from 2010 to 2011 according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. This is the reversal of a trend which saw bicycling deaths dropping in the United States over the past 20 years. Just released statistics from the National Highway Transportation Association (NHTSA) prove that bicycling injuries and deaths have increased. In April 2013, NHTSA released statistics about bicycling deaths and injuries occurring in 2011. Bicycling deaths have increased by almost 9% from 2010 to 2011, while pedestrian deaths increased about 3%. By comparison, deaths to occupants of vehicles (cars, trucks, etc.) decreased by more than 7,500 between 2010 and 2011.
What state had the highest number of bicycling deaths in the U.S.? Florida. Bicycling deaths totaled more than 5% of all traffic fatalities – 125 cycling fatalities. In Florida, both the total number of cycling deaths and the percentage of bicycle deaths, compared to vehicle deaths, are the highest of any state. This is compared to Delaware, Idaho, Maine, Rhode Island, Vermont and West Virginia – they had zero bicycling deaths!