Delaware Ranks Fifth in U.S. for Bicycle Safety - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Delaware Ranks Fifth in U.S. for Bicycle Safety

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DOVER, Del.- Walking and cycling is becoming safer in Delaware. The state is now ranked fifth in the nation for cycling and walking safety.

"It's great to see us moving up," said John Kurpjuweit, president of Sussex Cyclists, a local bicycle club.

According to the League of American Bicyclists, the report also ranked the state number one on the East Coast for safety.

The state ranked highest in the categories of legislation an enforcement, and education and encouragement.  

"I'm very excited, perhaps not surprised because in the last couple of years things have really picked up to make Delaware more bike friendly," said Carol Ireland, a member of Bike Delaware and the White Clay Bicycle Club.

According to Bike Delaware, the state was ranked 18th in 2011 and 10th in 2012. It has advanced faster than any other state in terms of cycling and walking safety.

"I know the state has a plan. Whenever they're completely redoing a road, if they can add a bike lane or add elements that will make it safer to bike with markings, they're doing it," said Kurpjuweit.

Some cyclists say drivers are still not paying attention to the road. 

"Unfortunately a very good friend of mine was killed by a motorist last year. He was right in front of me when the car hit him and the driver says, 'I never saw him.' We're there in bright clothes, it was a bright sunny day. I mean, how does that happen? asked Ireland.

Ireland and others say people should continue to promote safety.

Employee benefits consultant Jason Danner hopes Delaware's ranking gets more people active.

"Health insurance around the country is about $8,500 per employee per year. That's a staggering number that continues to increase on an average of eight to ten percent, sometimes as much as 12 percent per year. When they understand the root cause of that is inactivity, poor nutrition and smoking, that's pretty upsetting," said Danner,  Vice President of Kelly Benefit Strategies.

Health leaders say to help reduce sedentary lifestyles, they're encouraging folks to get outdoors.

"Cycling is an effective way for transportation, for recreation and just to have fun," said Richard Killingsworth, chief of health promotion and disease prevention with the Delaware Division of Health and Social Services.   

Health leaders are also focusing on encouraging more children to become active.

"Most families have bicycles at home. The unfortunate circumstance for kids is that they are not properly taught how to use them, nor do they feel safe using them in many environments. The opportunity here, in order to address the issue of being inactive, is using the bike as a form of transportation," said Killingsworth.

While Delaware is making gains in safety and focusing on healthy lifestyles, some like Ireland say leaders should continue the fight to keep the state safer.

"If we don't continue to do more, continue to fund through the legislature more biking and walking options, we will drop overnight," said Ireland.

For more information on the study, log onto http://www.bikeleague.org/


For more information on the Sussex Cyclists, log onto www.SussexCyclists.org

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