Traffic Safety Advocates Taking Action Into Their Own Hands

The San Francisco Transformation Agency is tired of watching cyclists and pedestrians die while the city promises more Vision Zero improvements.

August 10, 2016, 1:00 PM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


Traffic Cones

ElectoneXSeries / Shutterstock

A group of safety activists came together to implement a DIY safety improvement project at Sixth and Mission in San Francisco "after the deaths of two bicyclists, Heather Miller and Kate Slattery, who were killed the evening of June 22 after being struck by hit-and-run motorists," according to Bryan Goebel.

The action involved placing cones along the street to create a bump-out at a notoriously busy intersection, where pedestrian infrastructure is deteriorating and often ignored by drivers.

The so-called San Francisco Transformation Agency, or SFMTrA, takes inspiration from "similar guerrilla actions in Seattle, Portland and New York," writes Goebel, in moving beyond the Vision Zero efforts of the city. "They point out that despite the city’s Vision Zero effort, which has a goal of ending all traffic deaths by 2024, 26 people have died in traffic collisions so far in 2016," adds Goebel.

In related news at the national level, Angie Schmitt reports that the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), usually tasked with investigating train crashes and plane crashes, has finally taken an interest in cycling fatalities. The Systematic Failure blog first noted that NTSB would investigate the fatal crash that killed five people in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Schmitt adds the extra commentary that the NTSB is still missing a larger part of the point:

Some good might come out of this investigation, but how representative is this crash of the 700+ cyclist deaths in the U.S. each year? If the NTSB wants to make a difference for bicycling safety, it should examine the systemic causes of cycling fatalities.

Monday, August 8, 2016 in KQED

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