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Oklahoma State University

OSU's LTAP Working to Make Bike Trails Safer for Communities

STILLWATER, Okla. – Oklahoma State University’s Local Technical Assistance Program is working with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to make our bike trails safer for bikers, pedestrians and automobiles.

Last week, a group of 25 educators, engineers, designers and officials gathered to learn about designing safe bike trails for Oklahoma communities

The increase in bicyclist fatalities and injuries underscores FHWA’s awareness of the need for this class, which identifies specific measures Oklahoma officials can take to make the trails safer.

The course included a four-mile bike ride through Sand Springs, Okla. Indian Nation Council of Government (INCOG) worked with Tulsa Hub, a non-profit organization out of Tulsa, to pay for the rental of the bikes.

INCOG is a voluntary association of local and tribal governments in the Tulsa metropolitan area, one of 11 Councils of the Governments in the State of Oklahoma and one of several hundred regional planning organizations across the country.

“INCOG and 11 of its member jurisdictions collaborated to create the GO Plan (regional bicycle/pedestrian masterplan)” said Jane Ziegler, NCOG Transportation Planner and Bike and Pedestrian Coordinator.  “Now that the plan is complete, the next step is implementation.  Safety for those who choose active transportation (instead of driving a car) is a priority for INCOG; the FHWA training provided examples of best practices for bicycle facility implementation in country.  This was great because one of the best ways to study bicycle facilities is to see what others are doing and lessons learned” said Ziegler.   

Since 2009, the Tulsa Hub Ace Program has worked with over 900 adults throughout the Tulsa area to achieve mobility on the street and in society. They work with individuals who have no current means of transportation and could use a bike to get to and from work, school or other necessary locations. The $35 program fee can be waived in exchange for hours of work-trade or community service.

Increased commitment to and investment in bicycle facilities and walking networks can help meet goals for cleaner, healthier air, less congested roadways, and more livable, safe, cost-efficient communities. While the Oklahoma Department of Transportation leads the effort to provide safe and convenient accommodations for pedestrians and bicyclists, success will ultimately depend on transportation agencies across the country embracing and implementing the policy to develop and fully integrate active transportation networks.

Course instructor Brooke Struve, a licensed professional civil engineer with FHWA’s Resource Center, focuses on safety and design and trains people across the United States.

“Designing for pedestrians, bicyclist and their public right of way is one of our three safety focus areas along with intersection safety and run-off-the-road departure type crashes,” said Struve. “Those three contribute to many of the fatalities on our highways. It is a class that we offer to help transportation professionals to integrate a complete streets concept when thinking about all modes as they’re in the public rights- of-way.”

This class covered topics that included core bicyclist safety concepts, how to identify innovative design features to enhance bicyclist safety, how to relate national objectives and priorities to improve bicycle travel, and how to identify means of assessing quality of bicyclist facilities.

“I’m here to learn more about safety and designing correctly for bicyclists and bicycle infrastructure, and we’re getting ready to start the first ever state-wide bicycle and pedestrian plan,” said Shelby Templin, Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator of Oklahoma Department of Transportation. “We’re here to get insight as to what will be involved in that plan and what the best practices for safe bicycle infrastructure are.”

According to Struve, while bicyclist represent a small proportion of the trips on our highways, they are over represented in fatalities. Her goal is to assist in making everyone safer.

RELEASE CONTACT: Kristi Wheeler | CEAT MarCom | 405-744-5831 | Kristi.wheeler@okstate.edu

Oklahoma State University is a modern land-grant university that prepares students for success. OSU has more than 35,000 students across its five-campus system and more than 24,000 on its combined Stillwater and Tulsa campuses, with students from all 50 states and around 120 nations. Established in 1890, Oklahoma State has graduated more than 240,000 students who have been serving the state of Oklahoma, the nation and the world.

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