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Community Traffic Safety

DOT Unveils New Tools to Help Keep Pedestrians Safe

U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx today announced a new set of tools to help communities combat the rising number of pedestrian deaths that have occurred over the last two years. As part of the campaign, NHTSA is making $2 million in pedestrian safety grants available to cities with the highest rate of pedestrian deaths, and along with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), is launching a one-stop shop website called Everyone is a Pedestrian with safety tips and resources for local leaders, city planners, parents and others involved in improving pedestrian safety.

"Whether you live in a city or a small town, and whether you drive a car, take the bus or ride a train, at some point in the day, everyone is a pedestrian," said Secretary Foxx. "We all have a reason to support pedestrian safety, and now, everyone has new tools to help make a difference."

States have until August 30th to apply for a total of $2 million that can be used for education and enforcement initiatives in 22 focus cities where pedestrian deaths are greater than the national average. The new website pulls pedestrian safety information from both NHTSA and FHWA, and provides tips and resources that communities can use to keep pedestrians safe. These resources include information for parents on teaching children about safe walking, reports on effective pedestrian projects for state highway safety offices, and guides for community pedestrian safety advocates.

"We continue to see high rates of pedestrian fatalities in major cities and across every demographic," said NHTSA Administrator David Strickland. "To help stop the recent increase in deaths and injuries, we need everyone to play a role in pedestrian safety. Working with partners on the federal, state, local and individual level, we hope to turn this concerning trend around."

According to NHTSA data, 4,432 pedestrians were killed in traffic crashes in 2011 – an 8 percent increase since 2009. At today's press conference, NHTSA provided a breakdown of those numbers, which showed that three out of four pedestrian deaths occurred in urban areas and 70 percent of those killed were at non-intersections. In addition, 70 percent of deaths occurred at night and many involved alcohol.

"We are committed to making roads, highways and bridges safer for pedestrians," said Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez. "We're working to create safer environments for everyone, whether it's getting proven safety measures onto roads and at intersections or sharing online resources with schools, teachers, and parents that teach kids pedestrian safety."

Since 2009, FHWA has committed more than $3.8 billion to more than 11,000 projects that make it safer for pedestrians and bicyclists. The agency provides resources and expertise to improve walking routes and infrastructure, such as offering technical assistance to cities and states with the highest pedestrian fatalities and tools such as Pedsafe, an online toolbox that communities can use to improve pedestrian safety in their area.

Additional information on the new pedestrian data can be found in NHTSA's latest issue of SAFETY 1N NUM3ERS, an online monthly newsletter on hot topics in auto safety – including problem identification, people at risk, and recommended practices and solutions to mitigate injury and death on our nation's roadways.

For more information, check out NHTSA's new website with pedestrian safety resources www.nhtsa.gov/everyoneisapedestrian

How a Bike Share Program Got Started in Madras

Central Oregon's first bike share program at the Jefferson County School District in Madras began operations in April. With a population of about 6,000, you might not have suspected Madras to be the first town in Central Oregon to launch a bike lending program. But sometimes, it just takes an idea and some initiative.

School nurse and head varsity volleyball coach, Jamie Smith, says the bike share idea for the District's almost 400 employees was the brainstorm of staff members who had seen larger scale programs across the country.

Part of the groundwork for the bike sharing program had already been laid through an Employee Wellness program and the District's first OEA Choice Trust grant which allowed them to install Energi Stations along the Willow Creek path that borders the high school property.

A key goal of the Wellness Program is to increase convenient access to physical activity opportunities for its employees. The Energi Stations and bike share both feed into that goal.

During the District's vendor evaluation process, they were attracted by Bend Velo's bikes, the J. Livingston bicycle line, which re-purpose old, discarded steel mountain bike frames and breathes new life into them. Part of that process also allows for a degree of affordable customization.

Nowakowski expands on why Bend Velo was selected as their vendor, saying: "Once I saw the quality of the bikes, and heard Eric [Power] talk about getting more people commuting on bikes as his goal, I saw the great match we had between the school district's bike share program and Bend Velo. Eric was able to put a package together that allowed us to buy two more bikes than we planned and stay under budget. He has been great to work with and the bikes look great."

Ongoing maintenance of the fleet of 10 bikes will be undertaken by Smith and Nowakowski, and will be paid for out of Wellness funds.

The bike share will only be available to employees of Jefferson County School District and the Jefferson County Education Service District (ESD). Initially, bikes will be available to check out at the schools and offices in Madras.

The vision is that District employees might use the bikes to go to a meeting at another District building or location in the community, run a personal errand during a lunch break, or even check one out to ride home, and ride back to work the next day.

The bike sign-out process will allow Smith to evaluate usage levels and patterns which might lead to redistributing the fleet, and possibly to acquiring additional bikes. He feels the number of bikes lent will largely be dictated by the weather and the busy schedules of school employees.

If the program is successful, he says they might expand the offering to District schools in Metolius and Warm Springs, and, "maybe even see about other entities in town participating as well."

Motorcycle Safety Advocates Apply Here

May is Motorcycle Safety Month and the Governor's Advisory Committee on Motorcycle Safety is looking for a few good men and women to serve on this important committee. The Governor's Advisory Committee on Motorcycle Safety is seeking two new members to represent motorcyclists in the Willamette Valley. The Governor's Advisory Committee on Motorcycle Safety was formed in 1981 by Governor Vic Atiyeh. The committee focuses its efforts on rider education, road hazards unique to motorcyclists, motorist awareness of motorcycles, sharing the road and other safety issues.

The eight-member committee is comprised of volunteers appointed by the Governor and representing all areas of the state. The committee advises the Governor and ODOT's Transportation Safety Division regarding motorcycle safety. The committee reviews, processes and makes recommendations concerning motorcycle-related legislation as well as serving as a public forum for motorcyclists and promoting motorcycle safety. Upcoming work items include input on the motorcycle safety aspects of pending legislation, rider education training and public outreach.

The committee meets no more than monthly, typically in Salem. Members serve four year terms. Travel expenses are reimbursed. The current vacancies are for members that represent motorcyclists in the Willamette Valley including the Portland-metro area.

Both men and women are encouraged to apply. Interest forms can be found online at: www.oregon.gov/gov/Pages/boards.aspx

For questions about submitting an interest form or the appointment process please contact Judge Kemp with the Governor's Office, (503) 378-2317.

For questions about the committee contact Michele O'Leary with ODOT's Transportation Safety Division, (503) 986-4198, michele.a.oleary@odot.state.or.us