Imagine: Survey aims at alarming rate of traffic deaths

Special for Wrangler News

You’re backing out of your driveway when, at the last second, a bicyclist appears unexpectedly behind you on the sidewalk. You slam on the brakes, avoiding a potential tragedy.

Unfortunately, many other drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians aren’t as lucky. With more than 280 fatal bike and pedestrian crashes throughout the Valley last year, the Maricopa Association of Governments is working on a new strategic transportation safety plan.

But not without input, notes Tempe mayor and MAG chair Mark Mitchell. Just fill out an online safety survey.

“This survey will determine how the public feels about their personal safety as it relates to walking, biking and driving in our region—or what we call the ‘culture of safety’ in the MAG region,” says Mitchell.

“This crucial information can be used to develop a safety plan that reduces deaths and injuries on our roadways for all users.”

In 2018, reports MAG, there were 1,337 crashes involving pedestrians in the region, with 169 fatalities.

There also were 957 bike crashes, claiming 117 lives. MAG, along with other state and regional partners, has set up a task force to develop an education and enforcement program to address bicycle and pedestrian safety.

The online survey will allow participants to place “pins” on a map of areas where they have experienced safety issues when riding a bike, driving or walking.

“The first goal is to identify concerns people have about safety and connect with their personal experiences,” says Carl Langford, chair of the MAG Transportation Safety Committee.

“Once we identify risk factors related to their experiences, we can work on finding ways to promote safe behaviors. This may be through education, enforcement or adapting infrastructure.”

The safety team also will compare the findings to other regions and states to see how they have addressed similar safety concerns.

The team will incorporate best practices into any final safety plan.

According to Mitchell, safety for all modes of transportation will be a cornerstone in the next Regional Transportation Plan, Imagine, which is currently under development by the MAG Transportation Policy Committee.

To respond to the survey, visit azmag.gov/safetysurvey.

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