Safe Routes Scoop

Ten Questions with Pam Fischer

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Question 4:
Key elements of the division’s 2008 Highway Safety Plan are targeted specifically to pedestrian and bicycle safety, with funding available to you for education and enforcement efforts. That said, what are some of the division’s pedestrian and bicycle safety program emphasis areas? Could you update us on some of the division’s current initiatives that focus on those emphasis areas?

 

Response:
First, I think it’s important to point out that the division’s plan is data-driven and that organizations seeking a grant under the plan must demonstrate a need for funding based on data analysis. Clearly, pedestrian safety is a priority area for the division when you consider that of the 718* people killed in motor vehicle crashes in New Jersey in 2007, 144*, or 20 percent, were pedestrians. Knowing this, the division is placing emphasis on initiatives that have a direct impact on reducing crashes involving cars and pedestrians.

 

In Newark, for example, the Division has provided $25,000 in matching funds to the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ) for its “WalkSafe” pilot project to educate school-age children about safe walking practices. UMDNJ identified a clear need for the program through data analysis of

emergency room visits involving children. The pilot, which is modeled after a highly successful program in Miami, Florida, will be carefully monitored to assess what impact the training (delivered in the classroom, in the field and reinforced at home), has on reducing trauma involving children.

 

The division is encouraging communities to focus their pedestrian safety educational efforts on the most vulnerable populations–children, senior citizens and immigrants–and to engage bicyclists of all ages in the importance of wearing helmets and adhering to safe riding practices. In addition, we’re funding enforcement initiatives that target motorists and pedestrians who clearly violate state law and pose a safety risk.

 

Question 5:
With specific regard to enforcement efforts, the division is collaborating with partners including the Alan M. Voorhees Transportation Center (VTC) at Rutgers University, NJDOT and the New Jersey Police Traffic Officers Association to pilot pedestrian enforcement workshops. The first session of this pilot initiative was held on June 13, 2007 in New Brunswick and was profiled in the last issue of the NJ Walks and Bikes newsletter. Basically, this program is a “train-the-trainer” style initiative, targeted to law enforcement/police departments and focuses on

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