The City of Bellingham has initiated a public awareness campaign to encourage pedestrians, bicyclists, and drivers to travel safely. “Travel With Care” is a partnership between the city and the Washington Traffic Safety Commission to reduce collisions and “increase responsible behavior on city streets”. The vast majority of collisions are due to driver inattention and other kinds of errors. These awareness campaigns can at the very least remind drivers that there are simple, common sense ways to prevent serious crashes, and most of the things that drivers do that cause these wrecks are illegal.
Bellingham’s city planners and other governing officials want the city to be walkable, bikeable and drivable. “Travel with Care” is an ongoing education and enforcement campaign intended to:
- foster safe driving, walking and cycling behaviors utilizing social norming;
- educate all users (motorists, pedestrians, cyclists) on safe behavior and rules of the road;
- enforce rules of the road.
Their goal seems lofty but is actually quite feasible: zero traffic deaths. Imagine if no one did any of the things on this list of the top 15 causes of car accidents. There would be an immediate and dramatic reduction in traffic deaths. It is totally reasonable to expect drivers to maintain the posted speed limit and not drive distracted or drunk. Those are the top three things on that list, and all three are illegal in the state of Washington. To entirely prevent traffic deaths, focusing only on vehicle drivers is insufficient. More and more studies show the dangers of distracted walking, for example, and while it’s not possible to be arrested in Washington for drunken bicycling, an officer could impound a drunk rider’s bicycle if deemed a threat to public safety. Long story short, because traffic accidents are estimated to cost the US $871 billion annually, it makes sense that local governments are taking traffic safety very seriously.
Please visit their website and watch the videos to learn more about walking, biking, and vehicle safety.