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City of Seattle

August 29, 4:59 PM click here to comment > 7

Launching a road safety campaign with the goal of zero fatalities on roads

Mayor Mike McGinn joined community leaders today to launch a new effort to improve road safety in Seattle. The Road Safety Action Plan, the outcome of the mayor’s Road Safety Summit, seeks to achieve zero traffic fatalities and serious injuries on Seattle’s roads. The Action Plan includes a public awareness campaign, Be Super Safe, which will help encourage everyone using the roads to make safe choices.

“We share our roads with our friends, our neighbors, and our family members. It’s up to each of us to do what it takes to help them be safe,” said Mayor Mike McGinn. “Our Road Safety Action Plan lays out concrete steps the City and our partners will take to improve safety. Those steps are looking out for each other, the key ingredient to reducing fatalities and serious injuries.”

The Road Safety Action Plan seeks to achieve zero fatalities and serious injuries by taking action in the following focus areas: fewer people speeding; fewer people traveling while distracted; fewer people traveling while impaired; more people knowing and following the rules of the road; safer roadway design for all; and by creating a culture of empathy on our roads – whether you’re driving, walking, biking, taking transit, or using any other way to get around. Each of these focus areas includes environmental improvements, enforcement efforts, sustained educational outreach, ways to inspire a culture of empathy on our roads, and evaluation of our efforts.

Examples of actions include: increased enforcement in high collision locations, a more sophisticated collision review process, the use of “Dynamic Message Signs” (digital signs on Seattle streets) for road safety messages, support for Safe Routes to School, neighborhood-by-neighborhood road safety outreach, support for street design that separates modes and reduces speeds, and increased outreach about new infrastructure (like sharrows or bike boxes).

Be Super Safe, the awareness campaign, will consist of several messages put out to a broader audience, but will also include sophisticated outreach to specific targeted audiences on speeding, distraction, and impairment. By using the best available data on collisions and why they most frequently occur and using that data in outreach efforts, we will be more successful at increasing safe behavior.

These efforts are the product of the Road Safety Summit meetings convened by McGinn in the fall of 2011. More than 3,000 public comments were received as part of the Road Safety Summit, which included four public meetings that included elected officials and stakeholders. Since the summit, the City has worked with regional traffic safety experts, law enforcement, major employers, other agencies, advocates, and community members, to create Seattle’s first citywide traffic safety plan.

“I’m careful to deliberately talk about traffic ‘crashes’ and not traffic ‘accidents’. The word ‘accident’ implies that it just happens and can’t be prevented,” said Dr. Fleming. “A driver talking on a cell phone after having a couple of drinks at happy hour and hitting another person is not an accident. That is a predictable and preventable crash and simply must stop happening through a change in behavior.”

“Our streets will be safer immediately if we all make the decision to cross the street with the ‘walk’ signal, to slow down and pay attention while we’re driving, to follow the rules of the road, set a high standard for urban cyclist behavior, and to look out for each other on our streets,” said Doug Palm of PATH.

For more information and to read the Road Safety Action Plan visit our Web site:

Posted by: Words: April Thomas, Pictures: Jen Nance


Comment from David Krause
Time August 31, 2012 at 11:58 am

Does that include requiring cyclists to obey traffic laws also? Or, is it just more blame the driver regardless of the level of irresponsibility or sense of entitlement of the cycling community? For example, will police be actively policing areas where cyclists routinely ride their bicycles illegally in pedestrian crosswalks in an effort to gain the upper hand, thus endangering themselves, pedestrians, and drivers, and issuing citations?

Comment from Lynda
Time August 31, 2012 at 3:24 pm

I would like more information publicized about signage meaning and rules for me in relationship to urban cyclists: what are the rules of the road for drivers and walkers when cyclists are on the roads and sidewalks, at intersections, etc? what do the various painted shapes and lines on streets mean?

Comment from Scott Sander
Time August 31, 2012 at 3:37 pm

As part of this plan the city should enforce driving rules and penalize drives who block intersections, especially at Mercer St and Dexter Ave.

Comment from Paul
Time August 31, 2012 at 9:07 pm

Illegal in pedestrian crosswalks? I drive and cycle, and am expected to know and respect local laws for both, and do. Maybe you can to, check them out here;

Seattle and WA State laws are readily available to read. It is legal to safely ride in a crosswalk and a sidewalk. And it’s illegal for a cyclist to run a stop sign or red light, just like a car. Remember, if most of us cyclists were not riding, we would be sitting in our cars, in front of you.

Comment from Jacqueline Ashwell
Time September 1, 2012 at 10:35 am

In response to David above, I almost entirely agree. Bikes are actually allowed in crosswalks if they’re utilizing the sidewalks (which is allowed, as is confirmed in reading the plan above, so long as they yield the right of way to pedestrians). I personally bike on the sidewalks specifically because I find that cars don’t watch out for bikes and I therefore feel safer traveling at a slow (pedestrian) speed, particularly since my commute is pretty short and I’m rarely in a hurry. That said, I get really frustrated watching fellow cyclists who use the street when they break the rules. Pick one: be in the road and use the rules of the road, or be on the sidewalk and act like a pedestrian. Don’t switch back and forth to suit your needs in the moment. Don’t go against the lights. This report says that there’ll be people out there — volunteers and plain clothes officers — providing information to people, making sure that everyone (motor vehicles, cyclists, and pedestrians) all know the rules and are empathetic to one another.

Comment from Jama
Time September 4, 2012 at 8:52 am

I am glad you are attempting this. My son was riding a bicycle to work and was critcally injured by a reckless car driver. How are you going to educate motorists to be respectful of bicycles?

Comment from Helen Mitchell
Time September 4, 2012 at 10:05 am

Recommend speed dip put in 5500-5547 block of South Langston Rd. Many speeders and children riding bikes. Also we lost a dear neighbor to a recent shooting, it is a dark road.