The state is going to test ways that bicyclists and pedestrians can get around safer. The safety campaign will probably start with just a city or two in 2008 and eventually expand across Arizona.
The campaign is in part to make it easier for people to get out of their vehicles on some trips. But the Arizona Department of Transportation also wants to reduce injuries. And pedestrian injuries are higher than the national average in Arizona.
“Relative to other states, we do have a pedestrian safety problem,” said Michael Sanders, who manages ADOT’s bicycle and pedestrian program.
Some cities do a pretty good job of making it safe for bicyclists, walkers and drivers to share the same spaces, Sanders said. But ADOT wants a broader campaign to call more attention to safety, especially in places that haven’t done as much. The agency plans to select a city or cities early next year and start the $60,000 campaign soon after. If its efforts are working, ADOT hopes to get a grant to expand the campaign statewide.
ADOT wants to remind everybody to “Share the road,” which is the slogan of a national safety campaign. The agency still needs to develop the specifics of the campaign, but any message will target drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians.
“Collisions are caused by both motorists and cyclists at about the same rate,” Sanders said.
Tucson and eastern Pima County have the most robust safety efforts, as both have gold-level awards as Bicycle Friendly Communities from the American League of Bicyclists. Scottsdale and Tempe have silver-level recognition. Bronze awards go to Mesa, Chandler and Gilbert.
Arizona’s pedestrian safety problem is in part because the state’s roads are generally wide and designed more with vehicles in mind, Sanders said. Many pedestrian are struck trying to cross the wide expanse of multi-lane roads, he said.
Yet Arizona has been making it easier and safer for people to walk or bike, he said.