We can do better

Thank you to everyone who joined us on short notice at this morning's press conference to start a community dialogue about making our roadways safer. This is just the beginning of an important conversation, and we need you to continue to be a part of the change.

More and more people are walking, biking and using transit to navigate the streets of Seattle, which is good for everyone. We -- drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists -- share the public right of way. We also share the benefits of less congestion, better air quality and healthier people.

Therefore, it is our shared responsibility to create a safe environment and to look out for each other. No traffic fatality is acceptable. We can do better.

Our call to action today is to make our streets safer in two ways: through better conduct and through better infrastructure.

CONDUCT: Every person helps set the tone on the streets. Seattle is a vibrant, urban environment, full of people. We are all trying get where we need to go, safely and efficiently. It is every person’s shared responsibility to look out for each other. Put down the phone. Stop texting. Unplug your ears. We can do better.

Drivers:

  • Slow down, and look twice. There are vulnerable users all around you. Look over both shoulders for people crossing the street and for bicycles alongside. The five seconds you might save by driving fast or not stopping can cost a life and irrevocably change your own.
  • Be a community pace car. We are in control every time we get behind the wheel. Observe the speed limit, don’t run red lights, and come to complete stops at stop signs. Yield to pedestrians. Expect to see bicycles.

Bicyclists:

  • Slow down, and look twice. The minute you’re shaving off your commute by racing down the trail and blowing traffic signals can cost a life, possibly your own.
  • Follow the rules of the road. Be an ambassador of best biking conduct. Be predictable, be visible, and be vigilant. Stop at traffic signals.
  • Make eye contact and signal your intent. Drivers want to know what you’re doing. Making eye contact will help you see who isn’t looking for you.
  • Look for pedestrians. It is a cyclist’s responsibility to yield to pedestrians.

Pedestrians:

  • Make eye contact. Pay attention to the environment around you. Communicate with drivers and bicyclists so your intent is known. You are the most vulnerable roadway user out there.

INFRASTRUCTURE: We must improve our roadways for better public safety. That means funding and implementing bicycle, pedestrian and transit enhancements.

We’re asking our elected officials to lead the way by setting policies, allocating funding and implementing plans that encourage and protect all users. Public safety is at stake, and addressing it must be a priority. People should not be dying on our streets due to politics.

People of Seattle are encouraged to get involved in their communities. Join the Neighborhood Greenways movement, for example, to show that your neighborhood wants these improvements.

What do we want to see as a result of today’s event?

  • Zero fatalities. We want to see a recommitment from our cities and our state toward the vision of zero traffic fatalities.
  • An informed, engaged public. More people who thought they were on the sidelines are coming together and realizing they can do something to make our city better and safer.
  • Less rhetoric. We want to hear a decrease the divisive, inflammatory rhetoric so that a civil and responsible conversation can take place about how to make our city streets safer and better.
  • Leadership. We call on our elected officials to make protecting our most vulnerable roadway users and improving public safety a top priority.