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City of Seattle

November 8, 8:52 AM click here to comment > 0

This Thursday and Friday, Be Super Safe on Aurora Avenue

I convened a Road Safety Summit a year ago to determine the best ways to keep people safer on Seattle streets. Today and tomorrow, November 8 and 9, SPD officers will be out on Aurora Ave North helping to do just that, as they implement one action of the Road Safety Action Plan.

One goal of the Summit was to encourage people to look out for each other, whether you’re walking, biking, or driving. Another goal was to dig deep into traffic safety data and find best practices for increasing safety. In this case, “high visibility enforcement” — enforcement that’s talked about in the neighborhood, in the media, or online, before or as it’s happening — is a frequently successful way to change people’s behavior. When people know that speeding, driving distracted, or not following the rules of the road will be especially likely to get them a ticket, they drive, bike, or walk more safely.

This is the fourth major emphasis patrol the City has launched since September to improve safety on Seattle streets. Previous locations included the U District, Capitol Hill, and Rainier Ave South/MLK Jr Way South. These are all locations with higher numbers of collisions.

This safety emphasis patrol will happen on Aurora Avenue North, all along the corridor. Behaviors that commonly contribute to collisions on Aurora include:

  • Speeding
  • Traveling while distracted
  • Failure to yield to a driver or a pedestrian

The long-term vision of this work is to reach zero fatalities and serious injuries – not to write tickets. I believe that one fatality or serious collision is one too many. An average of 20 people die in collisions on Seattle’s streets every year. Most of these are 100% preventable. and frequently involve distraction, excessive speed, and impairment. Another outcome of the Road Safety Action Plan is an outreach campaign called Be Super Safe, that encourages people to be safer on our roads.

So, as you’re traveling on Aurora keep safety in mind. Plan your trip and allow enough time to get where you’re going. Know the speed limit and travel it. Unless otherwise posted, the speed limit in Seattle is 30 miles per hour on arterials, 25 miles per hour on residential streets, and 20 miles per hour in school zones. A few miles over the speed limit can make the difference in whether or not you or someone else survives a crash.

No matter how you travel, make sure you give your full attention to the road. Put down the phone, your coffee, your breakfast, or whatever else and be aware.

Also think ahead about how to get home. If you’re going out and planning to drink, think about a designated driver, taking a taxi, or using public transit.  Impairment is a factor for pedestrians and people on bikes too. If you’ve had too much to drink, leave your bike behind and think about getting a ride home or traveling with a sober friend.

These are all good tips for looking out for each other and yourself, and getting closer to that long-term vision: zero traffic fatalities and serious injuries.

For more information on the Road Safety Action Plan or the Be Super Safe campaign, go to www.seattle.gov/BeSuperSafe.

Posted by: Mayor Mike McGinn