Blog Post

One death is too many

Thursday, April 1, 2021 by Wade Johnston

Crossing the street shouldn’t involve taking your life into your hands. Riding a bicycle shouldn’t be an act of bravery. But far too often, participating in traffic as a vulnerable road user results in senseless loss of life.

It’s easy to become numb to the news alerts on our phones and the 20-second recaps of the life of someone who was just trying to get across the street, or to school, or home at the end of a long day of work. But we cannot stand idly by when these deaths represent unnecessary voids in our communities.

On April 7, Tri-State Trails, together with our partners at VisionZero NKY and VisionZero Cincy, will unite to say “one death is too many” at a Day of Remembrance from 4-5 p.m. at the foot of the Purple People Bridge in Newport, Kentucky. The event is free and open to the public. Memorials of individuals lost to car crashes will be placed on the Purple People Bridge through April 11, 2021.

“No one should have to fear for their life while walking or biking in their community,” said Wade Johnston, Director of Tri-State Trails. “These tragic deaths are entirely preventable if we design our streets to be safer and all roadway users follow the rules of the road.”

Shawna Rodriguez, who lost her daughter Gabby to a car crash in 2018, will represent bereaved families at the Day of Remembrance. “If one life can be saved because someone pays more attention while driving after hearing Gabby’s story, then Gabby’s memory will be honored.”

Part of raising awareness around this critical issue is tracking the data in a central location. Tri-State Trails has unveiled a new crash dashboard visualizing traffic injuries and deaths on our roadway network. The data excludes crashes that have occurred on the interstate highways. Over the past decade, 1,163 individuals were killed while walking and biking on our local streets. Another 65,931 individuals were injured. “This tragic loss of life is entirely preventable if we design our streets for slower speeds and create a culture of following the rules of the road.” said Johnston.

Here’s how you can take action to end traffic fatalities:

  1. Don’t drive, bike, or walk distracted.
  2. Drive the speed limit.
  3. Always yield to pedestrians.
  4. Give bicyclists 3 feet of space when passing.
  5. Come to a full stop at stop signs.
  6. Don’t accelerate through a yellow light.
  7. Drive carefully in inclement weather.
  8. Make yourself visible when walking and bike.
  9. Be patient when you are driving.
  10. Remember the humanity of other road users.

We all must be part of the solution. 

Please contact Wade Johnston at gro.allerbmuneergobfsctd@edaw if you have any questions about the event.

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