Bicycle Safety & Wisconsin's Complete Streets' Policy
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 to travel.
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.