Wednesday, May 4 is SEPTA Safety Awareness Day, and this year, the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia and Indego Bike Share are joining forces with the Authority to highlight many of the precautions SEPTA drivers and cyclists can take to remain safe.

During rush hour tomorrow morning, 400 SEPTA employees will distribute safety materials and answered safety questions at more than 100 trolley, rail and bus stations throughout the Greater Philadelphia, 5-county region.

SEPTA launched a pilot program last Safety Awareness Day called the Safe Turn Alert, which warned pedestrians and bicyclists in the vicinity of a bus, that the bus would be turning. It uses an audio warning and a strobe light to make pedestrians aware that the bus is making a left or right-hand turn.

After a successful six-month pilot, SEPTA says it will have the system installed on all its buses later this year.

Because bicyclists are an engrained, permanent part of the Philadelphia community, the Bicycle Coalition is encouraging bicyclists to make themselves aware to SEPTA drivers and passengers, and to respectfully yield to passengers loading and unloading from buses.

Bicycle Coalition Executive Director Sarah Clark Stuart will be speaking at a 10am press conference at 2nd and Market tomorrow, in support of SEPTA’s Safety Awareness Day.

Says Stuart:

We applaud SEPTA for its leadership in promoting safety between bicyclists and for making considerable effort to improve connections between bicycle and transit facilities.  SETPA’s Cycle-Transit plan and capital program are resulting in better bicycle parking at Regional Rail stations and transit hubs. We are looking forward to future improvements that will expand bicycle access, bicycle parking and reduce dangerous interactions with trolley tracks.

We also applaud SETPA for looking out for bicyclists by promoting safety videos and tips.  We concur that bicyclists should do their part to follow rules of the road such as riding with traffic, yielding to pedestrians, using bike lights when riding at night, and taking steps to being visible to drivers. We especially want to remind bicyclists when sharing lanes with buses to respect the need of the most vulnerable road user and not pass on the right when passengers are loading and discharging.

We appreciate SEPTA’s initiative to place audible warnings on its buses to alert pedestrians and bicyclists when turning. Sometimes, when I ride next to a bus and can’t see their turn signal, the audible warning is essential to letting me know that the bus is about to turn.  Such safety measures a critical reminder for everyone who is coming in contact with the bus.

We look forward to continuing to work with SEPTA and the City of Philadelphia and county partners on improving safety between bicyclists and the entire SEPTA system.

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