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BikeWalk Provo joins World Day of Remembrance for road traffic victims

By Genelle Pugmire - | Nov 17, 2022

Evan Cobb, Daily Herald file photo

Law enforcement investigate a deadly auto-pedestrian collision at the intersection of Riverside Avenue and State Street that killed the pedestrian on Wednesday, Sept. 26, 2018, in Provo. The male pedestrian was struck while in the crosswalk.

In 2021, 42,915 people died in roadway crashes in the U.S., according to the National Highway Traffic Safety. Provo city is not immune from these statistics.

In August, two siblings in Provo were hit and killed on their way to school. It was not only devastating to the family, but to the community and neighborhood in which they lived.

On Sunday, BikeWalk Provo will join nearly 50 communities across the nation for the World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims.

Activities will be held at 3 p.m. at North Park, 500 West and 500 North. Among the activities will be an announcement of the formation of a Utah Chapter for Families for Safe Streets.

The group’s intent is to urge government and corporate leaders to take meaningful action to end the current record-breaking roadway safety crisis.

The number of people that lost their lives in roadway crashes in 2021 is the highest number of roadway deaths in 16 years, and a 10.5% increase from 2020. This is the largest annual percentage increase in the history of the nation’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System, which first started in 1975.

“Our mission at BikeWalk Provo is to advocate for street design and culture that makes it safe, convenient, and fun for all people to move around by bike or foot,” said Christine Frandsen, Executive Director of BikeWalk Provo. “This event will honor and support victims and their families who have been injured or killed by cars in our own community.”

For the past several months the Provo City Council has been discussing the Safe Streets program and how that can be integrated into Provo’s streets and sidewalks.

“We cannot accept traffic violence as an inevitable side effect of transportation. We must design our streets and cities to be safe for all users, especially the most vulnerable among us,” Frandsen said.

Drivers struck and killed an estimated 7,485 people on foot in 2021 – the most pedestrian deaths in a single year in four decades and a 12% increase from the previous year.

“We’ve been led to believe that hundreds of people dying each day on the roads is an inevitable cost of modern society. But it’s not true,” said Leah Shahum, Executive Director of Vision Zero Network, a national nonprofit promoting safe mobility for all. “We want people to know the truth: Safe streets save lives. We have the tools and the know-how today to prevent most roadway deaths and severe injuries. We demand to know why our leaders are not using proven strategies to end this safety crisis.”

Those involved with Sunday’s events are seeking help from communities in a few areas:

  • Designing roads & setting policies for safety over speed. This is possible by redesigning roadways, lowering speed limits and leveraging safety technology.
  • Ensuring complete streets. This includes safe road use and access for people walking, biking, driving and riding transit, and for people of all ages and abilities. Much of the road system in the U.S. is designed primarily for speed and attempts to avoid delays, not provide safe mobility.
  • Updating vehicle design standards to match safety standards elsewhere in the world, with a focus on adding features to protect people outside of vehicles, such as those walking and bicycling.

Provo’s BikeWalk has a mission to advocate for street design and culture that makes it safe, convenient and fun for all people to move around by bike or foot, Frandsen said.

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