Bike, pedestrian advocacy groups call for solutions to reckless driving

NOW: Bike, pedestrian advocacy groups call for solutions to reckless driving


WISCONSIN (CBS 58) -- The Wisconsin Department of Transportation says 60 people are killed by vehicles and over 1,500 more are hurt every year.

Pedestrian and bicyclist activists' groups say there are solutions that can bring those numbers down.

"Crashes involving pedestrians, and the severity of them, has -- and people biking has increased," said Jake Newborn, assistant director at the Wisconsin Bike Federation.

The Saturday before Halloween, a hit-and-run driver hit a mother and her child near Manitoba and Howell.

In late September, a 55-year-old man was killed while crossing the road at Teutonia and Capitol.

Ask any bicyclists, like Gilberto Llanas for example, and they'll have a story about being hit, even if they weren't hurt.

"This lady was coming out of the parking lot, she saw me, she slowed down, but still hit me," said Llanas.

"If you're hitting about 20 miles an hour, you've got a nine and 10 chance of survival. If you double that to about 40 miles an hour, I think it's about a 3-in-10 chance," said Jake Newborn.

He says that's why they advocate across the state on behalf of pedestrians and bicyclists to get people to slow down.

Newborn says it isn't just about having more enforcement from police, he says it can only go so far.

"That doesn't have quite the impact that we see as actual infrastructure changes," said Newborn.

Changes like protecting bike lanes with barriers so people can't use them to pass, bump-outs that protect pedestrians' paths further into the road when they're crossing, and speed humps to slow down cars, can all be a part of that.

"Reducing some of those bad behaviors that people have been accustomed to doing because they -- they can because they have the space to do it," said Newborn.

He says Wisconsin invests .6% of the transit budget for bike and pedestrian infrastructure, the national average is 2.2%.

Newborn says everyone is vulnerable to these problems, no matter how you get around.

"[Even if] you are driving your car, you are taking a bus, we've still got to cross the street to get to your parking spot, to get to the restaurant," said Newborn. "We're all those vulnerable users at some point in our trip, and we need to make it more comfortable for all sorts of people to, to have that traveling option independence."

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