More than 720 local and regional agencies across the United States have
adopted Complete Streets policies. These policies involve more than finishing
roadway construction; a Complete Street must provide
safe access for all users. This includes sidewalks, traffic lanes, and bicycle lanes.
Complete Streets policies were created to increase safety and encourage
multiple forms of transportation, including cycling. With ample room for
bicycle lanes, Complete Streets provide a safer environment for cyclists
What Makes a Street a ‘Complete Street?’
According to Wisconsin’s complete Streets policy, all construction
wholly or partially funded by the state or federal government must include
sidewalks and bikeways.
There are certain situations that allow an exception to this rule, but
the vast majority of new construction built with state or federal funding
will include both of these features.
Complete Streets Could Save Bicyclists’ Lives
Unfortunately, some politicians want to shut down Complete Street policies,
even though experts believe they can prevent fatal accidents involve bicyclists.
In a recent report, bicycle and safety advocates stated that a recent
string of bicycle-car accidents could have been prevented by “Complete
Street” road design.
“This is no time for Wisconsin to become the first state in the nation
to actually repeal a law that saves lives of people walking, biking and
driving,” said the executive director of the Wisconsin Bicycle Federation.
In fact, a study from Smart Growth America revealed a
70 percent decrease in accidents on streets that met Wisconsin’s
Complete Street policies.
Additionally, the study showed a
56 percent reduction in injuries on the Complete Street roadways.
Not only do Complete Streets encourage safety for cyclists, but they facilitate
the overall health and well-being of Wisconsin residents. According to
studies, 66 percent of Wisconsin residents are overweight, and many suffer
medical complications as a result.
In the United States, nearly 25% of all healthcare costs are linked to
obesity. By encouraging Wisconsin residents to travel via bicycle, the
Complete Street campaign will help residents stay health and potentially
decrease medical costs statewide.