KC: Share the Road law enforcement effort April 16th

The "Kansas City Share the Road Safety Task Force" sent the following announcement today:

Law enforcement reminds bicyclists, motorists and pedestrians to share the road

Area agencies raise awareness of bicycle and pedestrian safety

Law enforcement officers from the Jackson County Sheriff's Office and the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) will join the Share the Road Safety Task Force to conduct a traffic safety education and enforcement event on Wednesday, April 16, 2008, at the northeast intersection of 51st Street and Rockhill Road. Volunteers will distribute informational materials to the public and officers will issue citations to motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists not observing the rules of the road.

Members of the media are invited to attend a press conference at 10:00 a.m. Representatives from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NTSHA), the Jackson County Sheriff's Office, UMKC, the Share the Road Safety Task Force and the Mid-America Regional Council (MARC) will be present to answer questions related to bicycle and pedestrian safety.

This safety event is a follow-up to one that took place last September at the University of Kansas Medical Center. During that campaign, Jackson County and KUMC law enforcement gave out more than 140 citations to cyclists, drivers and pedestrians who failed to observe proper safety habits. As universities and colleges typically have high concentrations of pedestrians, cyclists and motorists interacting on roadways, these locations are particularly important in creating awareness of the rules and rights for all modes of transport.

In addition to the April 16 UMKC event, several other communities around the region will coordinate similar education and enforcement activities on the following day, April 17. Participating cities include Grandview, Leavenworth, Leawood and Parkville.

Bicycle and pedestrian safety a regional concern
From 2000 to 2006, 168 pedestrians and 18 bicyclists were killed in the Kansas City region. During the same time period, an additional 3,360 pedestrians and 1,466 bicyclists were injured. (Source: Mid-America Regional Council Safety Planning Program)

The Share the Road Safety Task Force, a regional group of bicycle and pedestrian advocates, transportation experts and local government representatives, was created in 2006 in response to this alarming rate of cyclist- and pedestrian-related accidents in the region. The task force aims to educate the public, encourage biking and walking as forms of transportation, and enforce the laws relating to cyclists, pedestrians and motorists sharing the road.

The task force has identified many simple steps that motorists, pedestrians and cyclists can take to practice safe habits on the roadways.

Cyclists:
* Wear proper safety gear, especially a helmet
* Obey all traffic laws, signs and signals
* Never ride against traffic – ride with the flow

Motorists:
* Reduce speed when passing bicyclists
* Give bicyclists adequate space to maneuver – typically allow for 3 feet
* Don't blast your horn when approaching cyclists – startling them can cause an accident
* Stop for pedestrian at crosswalks and intersections – it's the law

Pedestrians:
* Cross the street at marked crosswalks and intersections whenever possible.
* Be aware of your surroundings – watch for vehicles turning or baacking out of parking spaces and driveways
* Use pedestrian pushbuttons to activate/extend the walk signal. Never enter a crosswalk when a signal displays a solid or flashing Don't Walk message
* Use sidewalks. If there are none, walk facing traffic so you see vehicles, and drivers see you

For more information about these area enforcement events and to learn more about regional efforts regarding safety for motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians, visit www.sharetheroadkc.com.

Contact:
Aaron Bartlett, Bicycle Pedestrian Planner
Mid-America Regional Council
Work 816.701.8238; Cell 816.456.5302

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