DANE COUNTY EXECUTIVE FALK ANNOUNCES GRANT TO IMPROVE BICYCLE SAFETY
October 14, 2005
Madison -- On a beautiful fall day perfect for a bike ride, Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk gathered with members of the Safe Community Coalition at a busy intersection for bike traffic - Pioneer Road and Mineral Point Road - to announce a grant award aimed at improving bicycle safety.
Falk announced the award of a $52,000 grant to Safe Community Coalition and its partners to improve traffic safety in rural and urban areas where bicyclists and motorists share the road. Dane County received funds to provide this grant from Wisconsin Department of Transportation and the work will begin immediately, with the education efforts continuing throughout the winter to prepare bikers in advance of the spring cycling season.
During 2003 – 2004, three bicyclists were killed and 16 hospitalized for serious injuries in Dane County. In 2002, 72 bicyclists received emergency room care for injuries. These figures underestimate the number of bicycle-involved crashes and close calls, according to the project’s law enforcement partners.
“We need to educate both motorists and bicyclists about how to share the road safely,” said Falk. “Thanks to its beauty and terrain, Dane County is a mecca for recreational bicycling events. We are home to an event nearly every weekend during the riding season. Bicyclists and motorists also share the road to commute to Madison’s downtown and on University of Wisconsin campus,” Falk said. “This project is an exciting partnership to educate both groups on how to co-exist safely,” she added.
Safe Community Coalition has pulled together a broad-based partnership of law enforcement, bicycling and traffic safety advocates and local officials to conduct this project. Project activities include development of public service announcements; bicycle safety education for middle school students, for children just learning to ride, and for adult cyclists; increased communication to local communities and their residents about upcoming bicycling events; and law enforcement training and overtime grants to local police departments.
“It is critical that we start this work now, to better educate everyone, but especially kids, about the importance of bike safety. For example, the Safe Community Coalition will be selecting a middle school and working with them to create a map and brochure promoting safe biking routes. What a fabulous and effective way to work with kids in our community,” said Falk.
Lesley Sillaman, Office of the County Executive (608) 267-8823 or cell (608) 669-5606