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Road Safety For Cyclists Improving?

Los Altos Hills mother Lauren Ward was killed Nov. 4, 2010, and 11 cyclists a week land in the ER at Stanford Medical Center; A new group has started working with different agencies for solutions.

 

At the League of Women Voters' "Meet Your Public Officials" earlier this month, one official came in bicycle gear and a posse of cyclists to bring awareness of a new group working to increase bicycle safety.

Kirsten Keith, a Menlo Park City Councilmember, joined when she became concerned about bicyclists' safety. The number of emergency room injuries—11 each week—and admissions to Stanford's trauma department, 5 a week, prompted Stanford Medical Center to join the effort.

Cindy Welton, the Silicon Valley Bike Coalition Roadway Safety Solutions Team Coordinator, described the group's work this way:

In May 2012, Stanford Hospital Trauma Center and Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition (SVBC) pulled together a unique coalition of decision makers (the Roadway Safety Solutions Team or RSST) from Northern California government, education and advocacy as an ad hoc working group.  By sharing perspectives and developing collaborative solutions in the areas of education, behavior and infrastructure, this group is committed to reducing the incidence of cyclist crashes and improve safety on our roadways for all users.  

New bike lanes are one of the improvements that we will be seeing, including one on Alpine Road as it passes under Interstate-280, where Los Altos Hills cyclist Lauren Ward was killed. The San Mateo County Board of Supervisors approved that last year. 

Last month, the group held a bike summit at the Oshman Jewish Community Center in Palo Alto for an in-depth discussion of the ways governments, law enforcement, and advocates can work together in creating "a safe, welcoming environment for people on bikes." They invited two featured speakers, Mia Berk, who oversaw the city’s transformation into "the most bike-friendly place in the nation" manager of the City of Portland’s Bicycle Program. Charles Gandy, who played a lead role in bicycle infrastructure developments as the Mobility Coordinator for Long Beach.

Another panel of local experts and innovators discussed recent progress in making our roads safer for all users. The panel discussed infrastructure, education efforts, and strategies for improving the behavior of both people on bikes and people in cars.

Welton said the group is getting ready to survey some of the most dangerous intersections. 

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