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Office of Traffic Safety

Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety

Drivers of motor vehicles need to share the road with pedestrians and bicyclists. They need to know the rules of the road and how to protect themselves in traffic. OTS grantees develop programs to increase awareness of traffic rules, rights, and responsibilities among various age groups. These programs are developed to be attractive and interactive in an effort to truly impact students. At the elementary school level, parents and teachers are drawn into the programs as active role models and mentors in traffic safety. Grantees conduct traffic safety rodeos and presentations in an effort to build students’ skills and demonstrate proper practical application of those skills. To boost compliance with the law and decrease injuries, safety helmets are properly fitted and distributed to children in need for use with bicycles, scooters, skateboards, and skates. There is a special emphasis on programs designed exclusively for the hard-to-reach population at the middle and high school levels. Additional outreach endeavors include programs targeting the senior population along with a multicultural approach to address safer driving and walking behaviors.

PEDESTRIAN AND BICYCLE SAFETY PROGRAM AREA GOALS

  • To reduce the total number of pedestrians killed
  • To reduce the total number of pedestrians injured
  • To reduce the total number of bicyclists killed in traffic related collisions
  • To reduce the total number of bicyclists injured in traffic related collisions
  • To increase bicycle helmet compliance for children aged 5 to 18

2015 PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS

Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) Safety Corridor Grant
The City of Malibu identified a 21 mile corridor along the PCH/CA 1 that was determined to be unsafe for pedestrians and bicyclists. A taskforce was developed and quarterly meetings were held to implement and monitor the grant programs. Three changeable message signs were purchased and deployed along the PCH with various traffic safety messages. The City collaborated with the Los Angeles Police Department, Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, and Santa Monica Police Department to conduct additional DUI saturation patrols as well as bicycle and pedestrian enforcement operations along the corridor. In May, the taskforce released a traffic safety video, PCH Group Therapy, that received national recognition for the national City County Communications and Marketing Association (3CMA) award for the best PSA, the PSA was awarded first place.

Pedestrian/Bicycle Safety Program and Selective Traffic Enforcement Program
The Gilroy Police Department made substantial improvements in bicycle and pedestrian safety, enforcement and education. This was a group effort that took the assistance of many public and private entities. A one hour class was developed that was taught to fifth grade students in public and private schools in the district. In addition, the Gilroy Police Department teaches the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) program in schools. Knowing that one of the biggest safety issues affecting younger children are injuries that occur while riding a bike or crossing a street as a pedestrian, a class was added on bicycle and pedestrian safety during the DARE program. This has proven to be very effective, and findings show that students are growing increasingly interested in learning about bicycle and pedestrian safety issues. In the 2014-15 school year over 980 fifth grade students were impacted by the program. In addition, bicycle rodeos were conducted in the community in order to distribute 200 helmets to children in need, provide bicycle inspections, and teach the importance of bicycle safety, and pedestrian and bicycle enforcement operations were conducted.

Safer Streets Pasadena
The Safer Streets Pasadena Project implemented both an engineering and educational component that proved to be a huge success for Pasadena. Compared to the 2013 federal fiscal year, bicyclist fatalities were reduced by 100 percent from 2 to 0 and bicyclist injuries were reduced 25 percent from 87 to 65. On the engineering front, the city upgraded its collision database software to identify above-average collision rates based on intersection control type, street classification, and type of facility. The updated software allowed for the identification and evaluation of five high collision locations. The “Ride Right. Ride Bright.” bicycle safety campaign included the distribution of headlights, tail lights, helmets, educational brochures, information cards, and posters. The city conducted an educational event during Daylight Savings weekend, providing lights and helmets to bicyclists who were restaurant employees or service workers that commuted by bicycle and rode home in the dark. The campaign posters were posted within break rooms and dining areas at 150 locations. Bus shelter ads were posted at 15 locations throughout the city and the bike maps, rules of the road brochures and roadway to safety cards were distributed to libraries, community centers, and bike shops. The city distributed 950 lights and 450 helmets during five workshops and outreach events.

Safety Assessments for California Communities
For the past couple of decades, OTS has partnered with the University of California, Berkeley’s Technology Transfer Program to help hundreds of California communities encourage safer thoroughfares in cities and rural areas for motorists, pedestrians, and bicyclists. Growing from one program, the Traffic Safety Assessment program, Tech Transfer and OTS have worked together to expand a valuable resource and tailor new programs to specific needs for communities. Tech Transfer helped 23 communities find suggested solutions to their unique issues through the Traffic Safety Assessment, Rural Safety Assessment, Pedestrian Safety Assessment, and Bicycle Safety Assessment programs. With this free service, Tech Transfer’s top safety experts, who are currently active in the safety field, worked with the community and met with key engineering, enforcement, planning, and outreach staff members and analyzed relevant data, performed field observations, and reviewed the effectiveness of current safety programs to create real, workable, and suggested strategies. Suggestions, based on engineering, education, and enforcement, ranged from quick, low-cost solutions that could be implemented immediately to longer-range, big-budget solutions that could be added to master plans. Together, OTS, and Tech Transfer are transforming communities in California to be safer from the sidewalk to the center line for motorists, pedestrians, and bicyclists.

Community Pedestrian Safety Training Project
The University of California, Berkeley SafeTREC Program and their traffic safety partners provided ten Community Pedestrian Safety Training (CPST) programs, a four-hour education and community-based workshop on pedestrian safety best practices, walkability, and community engagement. Five trainings targeted high-risk communities in general, three targeted older adults, and two trainings targeted youth and/or parents. The team also provided follow-up services to previous CPST program sites. They reached an average of 250 people directly through the workshops. However, this program number is magnified because the 250 people have family, friends, and communities with whom they are likely to share information. In addition, considering the ongoing media articles reaching thousands of people in communities where new workshops were conducted, as well as communities in which follow-up work was done, there is broad and substantial community education about pedestrian safety. Numerous communities used the CPST to leverage support for other grants. Six communities received over $2 million in additional pedestrian safety funding.