Throughout the US, urban design and infrastructure tend to accommodate motorists to a much greater degree than they accommodate bicyclists and pedestrians. Washington State is no exception. In fact, some experts cite our country’s emphasis on car ownership (and the infrastructure choices this car-centric mentality results in) as being among the top reasons Americans are nearly twice as likely to die in car accidents and pedestrian accidents than citizens of Canada and many parts of Europe.
However, not everyone owns a car. Even those who do own motor vehicles might nevertheless choose to bike or walk to various destinations instead of driving if they aren’t traveling long distances.
Bike and walking paths play a critical role in keeping these people safe. Unfortunately, these paths are not widely available in all Washington communities. Some existing bike and walking paths also aren’t as safe as they should be.
Lawmakers have responded accordingly. The Washington State Department of Transportation just awarded an additional $20 million to boost the safety and availability of walking and biking paths in certain communities throughout the state. This increases the total biennial spending on these projects to $67.5 million.
Washington State Communities to Receive Funding for Improving Bicyclist and Pedestrian Safety
Twelve communities in particular will benefit from this additional funding. They were selected after a review of accident rates indicated they were most in need of assistance.
The funding itself will be diverted to separate specialized programs. For example, one such program is Safe Routes to School. As the name implies, this program’s focus is on improving the safety of paths used frequently by school students.
Areas we at Russell & Hill serve have been included among those receiving grants. Spokane Valley, for instance, has been awarded a $1.7 million Safe Routes to School grant.
Spokane Valley has also been awarded a $556,400 grant for a program devoted to more generally addressing the need for safer bicyclist and pedestrian paths.
It’s too soon to know for certain just how impactful this funding will be. That said, data indicates it might prove immensely helpful. A Washington State Department of Transportation study found that sites, where these Pedestrian/Bicyclist safety programs have been active in the past, saw a 44% decrease in walking and biking accidents. Safe Routes to School programs yielded a 36.4% reduction in accidents.
This is good news for those who navigate Spokane and the surrounding areas by riding bicycles or walking. However, it’s important to not become complacent. While improvements to walking and biking paths may very well boost pedestrian and bicyclist safety, if you ride a bike or walk to get from Point A to Point B, you must still exercise caution to avoid harm.
Unfortunately, you may have already been injured in an accident because another party was negligent. Contact a Spokane bicycle and pedestrian accident attorney at Russell & Hill, PLLC if so. We will review your case and help you pursue any financial compensation you may deserve. Get started today by calling us at 800-529-0842.