South Carolina ranks 49th among states for bicycling safety according to a report released today by the Alliance for Biking & Walking. “Bicycling and Walking in the U.S.: 2012 Benchmarking Report” shows that while 2.1% of work trips in South Carolina are by bicycle or foot, bicyclists and pedestrians account for 11.9% of traffic fatalities in the state.
Lack of investment in bicycling and walking could be to blame. While 12 percent of trips in the U.S. are by bike or foot, 14 percent of traffic fatalities are bicyclists and pedestrians, and pedestrian and bicycle projects receive less than 2 percent of federal transportation dollars.
“A much greater investment is needed in biking and walking to increase active transportation,” says Jeffrey Miller, Alliance President/CEO. “The Benchmarking Report shows that biking and walking are smart and cost-effective solutions that will pay for themselves many times over in healthcare savings and impact on local economies.”
South Carolina spends just 0.6% of its federal transportation dollars on biking and walking, ranking 46th among states for investing in biking and walking.
“South Carolina could be an ideal place to ride a bike, but the lack of understanding about the importance of bicycling and investing in infrastructure holds the state back from fulfilling its potential,” said Rachael Bronson, executive director of the Palmetto Cycling Coalition.
Currently, South Carolina biking and walking funding works out to just $0.95 per person, compared to the national average of $2.17. Without funding, infrastructure cannot be improved to accommodate bicyclists and pedestrians, keeping South Carolina the second most unsafe state in which to ride a bike.
While lack of investment in bicycling and walking has caused thousands of preventable deaths across the U.S., it doesn’t have to be.
Numerous successful projects across the state have been funded in part with federal dollars through threatened programs like Transportation Enhancements, including trails in Greenville, Charleston and Spartanburg. With continued investment, bicycling and walking can become easier, safer and a realistic transportation choice for South Carolina residents.
“Bicycling and Walking in the U.S.: 2012 Benchmarking Report” was funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and made possible through additional support from AARP and Planet Bike. For more information and to download the report visit www.PeoplePoweredMovement.org/benchmarking.