Good morning everyone. Thank you all for coming to our National Bike Safety Summit.
Every day, more and more people are hopping on a bike and heading out to work, school, the grocery store--wherever it is they need to go.
Every day, more communities are taking bikes into consideration when they plan transportation projects. They are creating livable neighborhoods, building bike paths, and opening up bike share programs.
In fact, forty-one cities nationwide have bike shares today--with more cities, including Tampa, joining the ranks this year. DOT was proud to provide over $5 million to help some of those cities build bike sharing systems that link up to public transportation.
None of this would be happening without people like you. Thank you for helping us to make Florida--and the rest of America--a more bike friendly place.
Since day one, President Obama and this Administration have made livability a priority, and we've worked to make sure that whether you are on a bike, in a car or on foot--you're safe.
Everything we do is about safety.
Through the Federal Highway Administration, we've invested a record $3.9 billion in bicycle and pedestrian projects nationwide--with $324 million going right here to the state of Florida.
We've awarded another $130 million through our innovative TIGER program specifically for bike and pedestrian projects.
And through our Partnership for Sustainable Communities, we've worked with local leaders to transform sprawling, struggling cities into clean, green, accessible hubs of activity where people choose to live and work.
The bottom line is this: With the help of federal investments, bicycle infrastructure is becoming an integral part of our modern transportation network.
That's not all--we're spreading the message of safety as well. We're working with others to stop reckless drivers from texting and driving, and we're reminding cyclists to wear their helmets.
We're thrilled that more people are riding bikes--and that more communities are thinking about bikes as they plan for the future.
But we know that we have more work ahead of us.
In 2011, bicyclist deaths increased by nearly 9 percent. Right here in Florida, 560 cyclists died in traffic crashes between 2007 and 2011.
And that's why we're here. We need to look at ways to make our infrastructure safer for everyone--because even one cyclist killed is one too many.
Tampa is a great example of a community that is taking a hard look at bike safety--and working to make the roads safer for everyone.
FDOT is reaching out to the community to figure out what needs to change.
With the help of an $11 million TIGER grant from DOT, Tampa is completing its Riverwalk project, which is helping to keep cyclists safe with a dedicated path for bikes and pedestrians.
And advocates like Karen Kress with Tampa BayCycle and Jim Shirk [Sherk] with the South West Florida Bicycle United Dealers, are also drawing attention to the safety issues.
Today, we're going to look at all the options for making cycling safe and convenient--from engineering to education to enforcement.
We hope to give you a few tools to improve bike safety in your own community.
But this is only the beginning.
All of us must be vigilant when it comes to safety. Whether we are in the car, on a bike or on foot, we all share the road.
And we must continue to push our elected officials to take bike safety seriously.
At DOT, we will continue to work with local leaders to deliver more transportation options. To build more livable communities and bike paths. To open up more bike shares.
But we need you--the cyclists, the advocates, the engineers, the safety experts--to continue this momentum.
Remember, there's safety in numbers. More cyclists mean safer cyclists. So, get out there. Get on your bike. And show your community that you are serious about cycling.
With your help, we will continue to build a 21st century transportation network that keeps us all safe.
And now, I'd like to hand it off to Mayor Buckhorn.