Activists Urge Action to Reduce Arizona's Bike and Pedestrian Deaths

The state ranks as the seventh most dangerous for pedestrians, with more than 100 pedestrian and cyclist deaths every year.

2 minute read

August 8, 2021, 9:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

Cyclist on a street in Tucson, Arizona

Nathan Johnson / Cyclist in Tucson, Arizona

Despite being a popular destination for outdoor biking events, hosting more than 30 USA cycling events every year, writes Ty Vinson, "Arizona's cyclist and pedestrian safety measures have come into question as studies show more than 100 pedestrians and cyclists die every year in vehicle-involved crashes in metro Phoenix." To assess the extent of the issue, "[t]he Maricopa Association of Governments has been keeping track of this data through its new safety program called See Me AZ." 

According to Margaret Herrera, transportation safety program manager, "fatalities have increased by 57% in the last 10 years, and the See Me AZ program is an attempt to help educate people on how to bring that number down." The Association is working with local agencies to "look for places where infrastructure could be improved to make traveling safer for all modes of transportation," and "there’s also a roadway safety program that funds short-term, immediate-need infrastructure projects." 

But some cycling advocates, like Sarah Muench, editor of Clipped In, "have never heard of the See Me AZ program until now, and they were unaware of any initiatives to make the state more cyclist and pedestrian friendly." Muench "said she’d like to see more signs, ads and public service announcements about not being a distracted driver." Joey Iuliano, president of Arizona Cycling, said that "often there’s too much emphasis on the issue being everyone’s responsibility. He believes the responsibility should be on those with the most power: the drivers." Iuliano called for more sidewalks, narrower streets, protected bike lanes, and other improved infrastructure. "[I]f the state wants people to ride bikes and walk more, then it has to make them feel safe enough to do it."

Wednesday, August 4, 2021 in AZ Central

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