Across the country over 20 cities have embarked on Vision Zero initiatives. Each city has slightly different focus but all with the same goal: to reduce roadway deaths and serious injuries from crashes.
Philadelphia and Washington DC bookended the month of March with a pair of conferences March 1st and 31st that opened up discussions about the importance of collecting crash data, improving road design, considering the user experience and next steps to improve the conditions for all road users be it car, cyclist or pedestrian.
On March 1st the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia held a day long conference on Vision Zero held at Jefferson University, while on March 31st the Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA) held theirs at the George Washington University Hospital. Both had similar themes and objectives.
In the city of Philadelphia last year, 78 people died in crashes, while DC saw 28 deaths. Nationally, there is a disturbing trend with over 40,000 roadway deaths; a 16% increase over a two year period.
Thanks to leadership from Mayor Bowser in Washington, DC and Mayor Kenney in Philadelphia, both cities are now fully committed with Vision Zero, a worldwide initiative to address this systemic problem and put an end to traffic fatalities and serious injuries on our roadways.
But to truly achieve the goal of safer streets requires a change in the way roadways are designed, how rules of the road are enforced equitably and without disproportionate impacts on communities of color or low income, and how data is collected and utilized to make decisions about prioritizing traffic calming projects. It also requires a change in the attitude of all road users to be alert, careful and considerate of each other – whether you walk, ride a bike or drive.
Thanks to DC Bike Ride’s support, WABA has made an intentional effort to be an integral part of jumpstarting DC’s Vision Zero program. WABA has hired a full time coordinator, hosted its first DC regional Vision Zero Summit, and recruited partners and local agencies thanks to funds raised from the ride. Additionally, the money raised has allowed them to host safety workshops to survey their top crash intersections in all DC wards and host block parties to raise awareness.
The DC Bike Ride on May 14th ensures that DC residents can play a pivotal role in this 10-year campaign – and allows WABA to continue to advocate for their families and neighborhoods. If you plan to be in the DC area that weekend, we encourage you to help our peer advocacy group by taking this 20 mile scenic ride; it’s a good way to see the city and support Vision Zero in DC. Prices increase on May 1st, so plan ahead and purchase your tickets in the next few days.