Both houses of the state legislature have taken the first steps to move forward a bill, which would make it safer for people walking. The proposed law, which was co-written by Feet First, would create a Pedestrian Fatality and Injury Advisory Council to prevent deaths and serious injuries of people walking. The bill has already been approved by both the House and Senate Transportation Committees. The Senate Bill was passed out of Rules by the cutoff. Now the House will use the Senate’s version to go through the whole process again. This bill is sponsored by Senator Liias and Representative Farrell who are intimately aware of tragedy that has come from people in their districts who have been hit and killed.
Many of our state’s roads are dangerous for people on foot. Between 2010 and 2012, there were at least 202 fatalities and 917 serious injuries to people who were hit by vehicles while walking. This statistic is horrendous, however what is even more scary is the fact that we do not even know the true extent of this crisis because our state does not have a system in place to accurately track and analyze data on pedestrian injuries and deaths. What we do know is that many of these tragedies could have been prevented, but without diving deeper to fully understand the problem or advocating for pedestrian safety, this crisis is likely to get worse.
The Washington State Transportation Safety Commission (WTSC) is the designated highway safety office for Washington. According to the WTSC, in 2014, there were 67 pedestrian-vehicle collision fatalities, and 283 pedestrian-vehicle collision serious injuries in Washington. These are life changing for the family, friends, and community.
Feet First has been working with legislative leaders from both political parties, Washington State Transportation Safety Commission, and the Association of Washington Cities to create bipartisan legislation addressing safer places for people to walk. The proposed law (SB 5957 in the Senate, and HB 2127 in the House of Representatives) would create a Pedestrian Fatality and Injury Advisory Council to examine deaths and serious injuries, identify patterns, and recommend measures to be taken to prevent future tragedies. This council would provide expert analysis, create transparency, and provide a much needed voice in state government for people who walk. The advisory council would include experts in law enforcement, transportation, public health, and pedestrian safety.
You can support this bill by calling 1.800.562.6000 and leaving a message for your legislators asking them to support the Pedestrian Fatality and Injury Advisory Council Bill (SB 5957/ HB 2127) in order to put a stop to preventable deaths and serious injuries of people who are walking.