WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Representative Seth Magaziner (RI-02) introduced the Biking Instruction, Knowledge, and Education (BIKE) Act to ensure that federal funding from National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) grants can be used to support bicycle education and safety programs.

According to the NHTSA, the number of bicyclists killed in traffic crashes has been steadily trending upwards since 2010. Studies have found that students who participated in bike education programs not only showed a significant improvement in bicycle safety knowledge, but their participation also shifted their parents’ behaviors and attitudes towards cyclists, reflecting a generational impact on road safety and making our roads safer for all users.

“Safe riding and driving habits start with education at an early age, and by expanding access to bike education programs, we create safer roads for both cyclists and motorists,” said Rep. Seth Magaziner. “I’m proud to introduce the BIKE Act, which will help ensure Americans grow up to value road safety – whether on two wheels or behind the wheel.”

The NHTSA Section 402 and Section 405 grant programs support state efforts to address transportation safety , including public education and awareness about traffic laws. Every year, each state must develop a Highway Safety Plan to guide how they will use their 402 and 405 funds, but federal law and guidance currently restricts funding from supporting cycling education.

The BIKE Act clarifies that bicycle education programs should be eligible for NHTSA grant funding and requires NHTSA to update its guidance to encourage states to use Section 402 and 405 funding for bike education and safety programs for students. Instilling these values at a young age helps build their confidence on the road and helps them understand the importance of protecting vulnerable road users.

“Children are empowered when they ride a bike, and they should also be safe while doing so,” said Bill Nesper, Executive Director of the League of American Bicyclists. “By incorporating bicycling education in schools, we can ensure children learn a healthy, lifelong habit and learn important roadway safety that will stay with them into adulthood, whether they bike, walk, take transit or drive. We applaud the introduction of the BIKE Act, as it will make bike education eligible for existing grant funding for traffic safety awareness.”

“The Rhode Island Bicycle Coalition wholeheartedly supports Representative Magaziner’s BIKE Act making NHTSA funds available for bicycle education. We are excited by the possibility of expanded school programs that will allow youngsters to ride safely and develop skills that will serve them for their entire lives,” said Kathleen Gannon, Board Chair at Rhode Island Bicycle Coalition.

“We are so pleased that Representative Magaziner has introduced the BIKE Act,” said Bari Freeman, Executive Director of Bike Newport. “We’re fortunate here in Rhode Island that RIDOT helps us to access some NHTSA funds for in-school, afterschool and summer camp bicycle safety programs, but this important legislation will bring more federal funding to support these efforts. Teaching bike skills at an early age leads to safe and frequent biking – we want to see more children everywhere access the programs that improve and encourage healthy and safe cycling. Thank you, Rep Magaziner!”

“We at the Woonasquatucket River Watershed Council are thrilled that Representative Magaziner introduced the BIKE Act to provide expanded federal funding to bicycle education programs,” said Donny Green, Bicycle Program Director, Woonasquatucket River Watershed Council. “Since 2019, we have partnered with RIDOT to deliver Rhode to Bicycle Safety programs to fifth grade classrooms throughout Rhode Island, and this legislation will allow even more funding to support these essential programs. We teach over a thousand students each year how to ride their bikes safely and confidently. We believe all children deserve access to the joy and independence that cycling offers, and these programs ensure they have the skills and knowledge they need to be safe while riding.”