Introduction of the Sarah Debbink Langenkamp Active Transportation Safety Act

Floor Speech

Date: March 21, 2023
Location: Washington, DC


Mr. BLUMENAUER. Mr. Speaker, more than 40,000 people were killed last year on America's roads. This tragic toll is unacceptable, even more so because every single one of these deaths is preventable.

Today, I am introducing legislation named for Sarah Debbink Langenkamp, who was killed while bicycling here in the Nation's capital.

Sarah was a U.S. diplomat whose family had just been evacuated from Kyiv. She was bicycling home from her children's new school in Bethesda on August 25, 2022, when she was struck and crushed by a flatbed truck.

She was riding in an unprotected bike lane on the shoulder of a five- lane urban highway, a route she was forced to take because it was the only connection between the low-traffic neighborhood street of the elementary school and the multi-use path to her home. While drivers are responsible for operating safely around cyclists and pedestrians, fixing gaps in infrastructure presents opportunities to build safe systems that could have protected Sarah.

Disconnected and incomplete networks are unfortunately common features of bicyclist and pedestrian infrastructure in the United States.

These gaps in infrastructure present serious dangers. Deaths and injuries of pedestrians and bicyclists have grown dramatically in recent years, rising to the highest levels in decades, and now make up 20 percent of traffic deaths. This legislation encourages the construction of complete active transportation networks, separated from vehicle roadways, which will contribute to safer trips and fewer deaths on our roads.

I look forward to working my colleagues in the House and Senate to pass this legislation in memory of Sarah and every other person killed on our Nation's roads.