Happy 2019! Changes at NCDOT, priorities for BWNC this year, the AV Start Act, and more. Read on.


The Newsletter of BikeWalk NC

From the Executive Director

Victory in the fight for funds to make North Carolina a state where anyone can choose to bicycle, run, walk and use all forms of active transportation to improve our health, environment and economy requires correcting bad decisions of the past. It also requires bold new public policies that will improve our transportation networks for all. Policy makers across the state make many decisions that impact the lives of rural and urban residents and visitors. Their leadership and our work are vital to creating an environment that fairly and equitably accommodates all forms of active and multimodal transportation.

In 2019, BikeWalk North Carolina (BWNC) will work with partners, groups, and with you, our members, on the following priorities:

Reducing the Loss of Life: BWNC will work to activate as many North Carolina cities and the state to declare that Vision Zero is a defining goal for how we educate, design and build our roadways. We will speak up at NCDOT's Vision Zero committee meetings for prioritizing safety of our roadways over all else.

Codifying Complete Streets Policy: BWNC will continue our work with policy makers to require NCDOT to develop a clear, comprehensive and standardized approach for implementing its Complete Streets Policy, and we will work to get the necessary funding and design of a safe and equitable multimodal transportation network.

Eliminating the Bicycle and Pedestrian Funding Limitation: BWNC will work to remove the 2013 session law that states NCDOT shall not provide financial support for independent bicycle and pedestrian improvement projects, except for federal funds administered by the Department for that purpose.

Thank you to all our members and donors for your generosity and participation in 2018. We hope that you will continue your support, reach out to local groups and your employers to join or match your generous contributions.

As we move forward in 2019, new developments will shape our work together. NCDOT recently announced that it is merging its Bicycle and Pedestrian Division with its Public Transportation Division. At this time, it is unclear how this historically significant merge will affect multi modal transportation planning and funding. This change reinforces our critical work at BWNC as North Carolina’s only statewide advocacy group for safe cycling and walking.

For more information, contact Terry Lansdell, Director@bikewalknc.org

AV Start Act Stalls

As the discussion continues about Autonomous Vehicles, we wanted to update our readers on the status of the AV Start Act.

The AV Start Act, a US Senate bill to establish preliminary federal regulations for autonomous vehicles, died without a vote when the 2017-2018 legislative session ended. The bill received pushback from consumer and bike/ped advocacy groups who cited a lack of standards-based safety requirements and a dependence on self-regulations by Level 3-5 AV manufacturers as the technology first enters the market. (AVs are currently broken into 5 levels, with levels 3–5 being the most automated). Passage was thwarted by other senate issues taking precedence, but sponsor, Senator John Thune [R-SD], has promised to re-introduce the bill during the next session.

Like its companion bill that passed the House in 2017, the AV Start Act preempts state regulation of AV equipment in favor of federal-level regulation, but would delay implementation of federal equipment standards and mandatory testing protocols for three to five years as federal regulators study and report on the issues. The act would require AV manufacturers to provide the government with self-evaluation reports on how their products accomplish multiple safety objectives, such as sensing of pedestrians and bicyclists, and to provide relevant crash data. During this period, manufacture and public operation of level 3-5 AVs lacking traditional safety devices such as brake pedals would be allowed.

Numerous bike/pedestrian and safety advocacy groups such as the League of American Bicyclists have expressed alarm at the lack of federal regulation of AV sensor and control systems, particularly in the wake of the fatal Uber AV collision with a pedestrian in Arizona in March 2018. AV manufacturers contend that waiting for the government to develop comprehensive system testing, standards, and regulations before allowing public deployment would delay the purportedly safer-than-human-driver technology and put US manufacturers at a disadvantage with their overseas competitors.

The AV Start Act does preserve common law liability for AV manufacturers and protects both common law and statutory liability from preemption in future legislation. This ensures that pedestrians, bicyclists, and other non-occupants have the right to trial by jury if harmed by the new technology— a powerful incentive for manufacturers to make their products safe. However, the Act does not address forced arbitration clauses that are frequently included in user contracts for users of ride and rental services. Consumer groups fear that such arbitration clauses could deny vehicle occupants the right to sue individually or as part of a class action.

For more information: AV Start Act, Self-driving bill hits dead end in U.S. Senate, Autonomous Driving and Collision Avoidance Technology Implications for Bicyclists and Pedestrians

Mark Your Calendars for these BWNC events in 2019

2019 CARS Ride

The Capital Area Ride for Safety (CARS) ride was first held in Raleigh in 2016 to  promote, educate, raise awareness and encourage positive interaction between motorists and bicyclists. September 22, 2019, will be the fourth year of the event, which continues to grow each year. Please put Sunday, September 22nd on your calendar for the 2019 ride. This is a well-organized ride with several options for riders including road rides, greenway rides, and even virtual rides. Best of all, it benefits BikeWalk NC and our work on behalf of you! For photos from last year or more information on the ride, go to CARSride.org.

2019 NC BikeWalk Summit

BikeWalk NC loved seeing so many of you at this year's statewide Summit. If you couldn't attend the Summit this year, or if you did and found it worthwhile, please mark your calendars to join us for the 2019 NC BikeWalk Summit being held October 18–19 in Winston-Salem. If you are a bicycle / pedestrian advocate in the Winston-Salem area who would like to help us plan the Summit and showcase your town, please send a note to our Executive Director, Terry Lansdell, at director@bikewalknc.org.

Happenings Around the State

There are some exciting things happening around our state. A few of them are highlighted below.

Durham, NC, as reported in our last newsletter, received a $1 million Bloomberg Mayors Challenge grant to support their work to reduce demand for single-occupancy vehicle trips into downtown Durham. This funding is in addition to the $100,000 award that created the Durham Mayors Challenge Pilot Program. During the 2018 Pilot, the City of Durham worked with approximately 1500 downtown employees to understand and encourage alternative commuting. This project tested two strategies, the personalized planning tool and the bus lottery game, both of which resulted in measurable change in how people reported traveling. The future program will continue and improve these strategies, as well as test other ways to encourage our community to drive alone less. The program will focus work in the downtown Durham area with the goal of building a program that can adopted by any community in the United States.

Apex, NC has completed its bike plan, which includes a connection to the 22 mile American Tobacco Trail.

Chapel Hill, NC was named a Silver Level Bicycle Friendly Community by the League of American Bicyclists. They join their neighboring community of Carrboro as the only two communities to reach this level to date.

Is your community doing something we and others should know about? Send us a link so we can promote it!

Second E-Bike Raffle Winner Announced

Joe Michel from E-Bike Central (R) presenting Seth LaJeunesse with his new E-Bike. Seth takes his new bike for a spin in the parking lot.

The second BWNC raffle was held on January 9, and we are pleased to announce Seth LaJeunesse as the winner of the BH Easy Motion Evo Eco e-bike that was donated by E-bike Central. Seth is Research Associate at UNC HSRC & Associate Director at the National Center for Safe Routes to School. Congratulations, Seth! We look forward to hearing about your experience with this new mode of transport!

BikeWalk NC is your statewide advocate for better infrastructure, better policies, and safer walking and bicycling experiences in our state. You can help by becoming a member for only $30/year. Won't you join today, and make our voice even stronger?

Contact us!

Terry Lansdell


P.O. Box 531, Cary, N.C. 27512

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