How to make roads safer for Delaware pedestrians and cyclists

cycle lane

What’s keeping you from an early morning jog or a runout with your bike? Is it the safety concerns? Well like they say if you’re looking to be invisible try being a pedestrian or cyclist on a busy road and rightly so.

The increase in road accidents is a cause for concern and the major problem is that while we our invisible to the motorists it’s the same in case of the safety engineers too. It’s also the responsibility of the engineers and road safety experts to ensure infrastructure that promotes pedestrian and cyclist safety.

The funds for road safety in any state including Delaware is sanctioned by the Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) and while close to $51m has been spent by the authorities you’ll be surprised to know out it none has been dedicated towards pedestrian or cyclist safety projects.

Quite shocking isn’t it? Such a huge amount spent only on improving road safety for vehicles and while these projects have brought about a significant reduction in vehicle accidents, pedestrian and cyclist fatalities have gone up by 10-15 over the past 8-9 years.

But who’s to blame? Is it the automobile companies and safety technicians conspiring to drive out pedestrians and cyclists to increase car sales by making roads a nightmare for the walkers and cyclists?

While that makes a killer plot for movie or TV series it isn’t the case in reality. The problem is quite basic. Every time we talk about road safety our first thought is automobile safety. That’s the reason you’d find engineers and technicians working more on making intersections safer and while that lowered accidents it’s time to shift focus onto the streets of Delaware.

One of biggest changes we have seen is the setting up of a special team for improving safety standards for pedestrians and cyclists. The team comprises of member from the local police force, Highway safety department and other important organizations.

The Solution

One basic change we can all agree to is increased investment of both time and money by the experts. Few other things that can help improve the situation are use of light beacons on crosswalks. Even LED sign boards or use of digital speed signs are small changes that can make the biggest impacts. Construction of separate lanes for cyclists and walkers and stricter laws and fines for over speeding and breaking of rules are few obvious solutions.

led signs

One important suggestion during the team’s meet was relocating bus stands to safer and more convenient locations. Apart from that use of audio messages to alert buses and installation of safety banners have also been discussed. Also public surveys are being conducted to help inform the people about road and safety measures.

In case you have an idea or a suggestion you think will help, let us know through the comments below.

 

Must Read: $20 Million approved to improve cycling and walking in Delaware

We have all heard about the amount of deaths caused by road accidents in Delaware especially among the cyclists and pedestrians and in the high tech fast moving world of today these modes of transports have taken a back seat but guess what good news is just around the corner.

On the 1st of July the Delaware General Assembly agreed to fund $20 million in order to improve safety and of cyclists and pedestrians in the state. While big strides have been made in the past year regarding these issues it’s expected that this record amount will provide the infrastructure the much needed boost.

Yes you heard it right, it’s a new record. The same assembly in the year 2012 approved $13m which has now been surpassed by $7m. This comes as a surprise because when the budget was initially drafted it was only around $18-$19m but the $1m add-on is certainly a positive sign and it’s now expected to speed up the previously made efforts.

One of the major tasks set out to be completed through the budget is the Wilmington-New Castle Greenway. For those unaware this is a secure, straightforward, well paved and smooth path designed especially for the morning joggers and cyclists.

It’s a 6 mile long motorist free path planned to be covering the Wilmington Riverfront and downtown new castle. Apart from that one of the more interesting projects that’s also being targeted with the newly sanctioned funds is the Lewes-Georgetown Trail, one that will interest the mountain bikers or trail runners looking for a new adventure.

Wilmington Riverfront
Wilmington Riverfront

This is going to be a 10-11 foot broad path and is expected to cover a distance of about 15-17 miles stretching from Lewes to Georgetown breaking another record of the lengthiest trail in Delaware.

While these projects aren’t immediate solutions to the growing problems it’s encouraging to see serious steps being taken towards a better and fitter future and we here on behalf of everyone would love to thank all members of the assembly especially the State Senator and Governor for initiating the funds and future steps. To end with, here’s an interesting fact.

Few days back the senator cycled his way to office which is about 50-60 miles and this was emulated by the governor few days later, sounds great doesn’t it? So what’s keeping you hold up in your room? Get out and get fitter.

You can share with us your views and comments on the funds approved and projects being undertaken in the comments section below. Let’s together make Delaware a safer and greener place.