Virginia state officials are championing the safety and cause of bikers and drivers after evaluating alarming numbers of people who died or were injured in 2010 on the state’s roadways. Last year, 88 people died walking or cycling on Virginia’s thoroughfares, and 621 cyclists and 1,585 pedestrians were injured.
Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R) declared Sept. 11-17 Virginia Bicyclist and Pedestrian Awareness Week. We asked the folks at Drive Smart Virginia, a nonprofit group dedicated to educating drivers and raising traffic safety awareness, what gripes they have with drivers.
“Bicyclists and pedestrians always want motorists to give them more room on the road. Many bicyclists tell us they don’t feel safe riding and with good reason,” said Rob Richardson, public relations and outreach manager for the organization. “I know pedestrians and bicyclists both worry about distracted drivers. I’ve heard a number of people say too many drivers don’t pay attention.”
Richardson said that they remind motorists year-round to not drive distracted, to wear their safety belts and to put their phone down. They don’t go easy on cyclists either. They’re reminded to bike with traffic, obey traffic laws and wear blinking lights.
“We’d like pedestrians to walk against traffic and we hope to increase safety, both pedestrians and bicyclists wear bright clothing,” he said. “Sometimes it’s a tough sell, but we’d like motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians to respect each other and ‘share the road.’”
Follow the organization on Twitter @DriveSmartVA.