Friday, January 15, 2010

LifeSavers Conference Comes To Philadelphia - Bicycle and Pedestrian Advocates Needed

The Lifesavers Conference is the premier national highway safety meeting in the United States dedicated to reducing the tragic toll of deaths and injuries on our nation's roadways. Starting in the early 1980s, the Lifesavers conference attendance has grown steadily, drawing nearly 2,000 participants in 2009. Each year, the Lifesavers Conference provides a forum that delivers relevant and timely common-sense solutions to today's critical highway safety problems.

The conference addresses a wide range of safety topics, from child passenger safety and occupant protection to roadway and vehicle safety and technology. It offers the latest information on advances in highway safety, highlights successful programs and draws attention to emerging safety issues.

But sadly the conference workshop schedule offers scant programming for pedestrians and bicyclists. There are bright spots here and there such as the Safe Routes To School session, Road Safety Audits as well as several workshops concerning law enforcement. It would be difficult for conference attendees to take away a whole lot of bike/ped safety info from the conference but to borrow Woody Allen's famous quote "Eighty percent of success is showing up."

"Showing up" may help conference planners chart a new course to make next year's event more reflective of the National Highway Statistics. For example conference planners offer recommended tracks such as "adult vehicle occupant protection" track and "impaired driver" track. We will look forward to the addition of a "vulnerable road user" track at next years conference in Phoenix.

Lifesavers Conference
April 11 - 13
Pennsylvania Convention Center


Dan said...

I looked at the FARS data and it showed a steady decrease in the number of pedestrian fatalities since 1994 despite a 24% increase in the number of miles traveled. Obviously efforts to decrease pedestrian deaths are working. The data for cyclists doesn't seem to show any obvious upward or downward trend. Bicyclists and pedestrians represented 14% of the fatalities for 2008. It is perhaps not surprising that the conference is focusing more on the other 86%. Many of the programs that focus on improving auto driver and passenger safety would also help increase cyclist and pedestrian safety. Certainly a program on safer ambulance transport for children benefits will help save lives of all users. Although most of the programs focus on motor vehicles, many of the programs focus on reducing distracted or drunk driving and would therefore help cyclists and pedestrians. Some of the other programs by their titles suggest that the concerns of cyclists and pedestrians will be addressed.

Examples are:

Multicultural Traffic Safety Outreach Efforts

Safe Communities: When Coalitions Get It Right

Safety and Innovation in New Intersection Designs

Making Your Community More Livable

Safe Communities Core Principles

National Safe Routes to School (SRTS) Program - Lessons Learned

Teaching Pedestrian Safety: A Child Development Perspective

Resources and Tools for Older Driver Safety and Transitioning

What is New in Teen Driver Public Policy

Youth Traffic Safety Panel

Teen Driving Distractions

How to Involve Youth in Your Traffic Safety Efforts

Underage Drinking Prevention

Applying Basic Science to Understanding Teen Driver Behavior: Brain Development and Psychology

Educating Parents About Teen Driving

Road Safety Audits

Advanced Vehicle Technology to Eliminate Drunk Driving

Implementing State Interlock Laws

Victim Impact Panel

Taskforce Solutions to Drunk Driving

Creating Impaired Driving Deterrence on a Limited Budget

College Binge Drinking Prevention

Drunk Driving: Over the Limit, Under Arrest

Innovative Strategies for High Visibility Enforcement

Trends in Older Driver Safety

Formulation of Older Driver Licensing Policy for Enhanced Safety

Novice Driver and GDL Research and Survey Results

Distracted Driving - A Review of Relevant Research and Latest Findings

Recent Impaired Driving Research

Andrew J. Besold said...

Yes nationwide bikes/ped may make up only 14% of fatalities but in places where people actually walk (Like Philly, NYC, New Jersey) the percentages are MUCH higher.

In New Jersey bicyclists and pedestrians now make up nearly 1/3 of all traffic fatalities and it's not due to people walking into walls or riding there bikes into trees.

In every case it is death by auto!

Andrew J. Besold said...

Also, is there anyway the bike/ped advocacy community can get it's voice heard at this conference without having to pay to go??

If I had the $300 I'd rather use it to go to the National Bike Summit.

JHop said...

Bike-ped deaths may be just 14 percent of the total, but the federal safety effort directed toward walkers and cyclists is a still smaller percentage. We need to raise the issue of parity in effort, and this would be a good place to do it -- even if we're not on the agenda.