At Safe on the Road, we advocate for pedestrian and cyclist-friendly streets that meet the needs not just of drivers, also of runners, walkers, and bikers. **These streets must also be safe for people of ALL races, ages, genders, and sexual orientations.** As public health advocates, we reject racism and injustice and are committed to advocating for equal access to safe places in our community to for everyone to walk, run, bike, recreate, socialize, and LIVE! Racism is a public health problem and a root cause of many health disparities, and we are committed to raising our voice as advocates for change. Structural inequities must be addressed and systemic change must happen. #blacklivesmatter #safeontheroad
In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, we all need to do our part practicing social distancing. But that can prove difficult on crowded sidewalks and busy bike lanes -- which is why Safe on the Road has been advocating for open streets, encouraging city leaders to close select streets to car traffic and open them to pedestrians and cyclists to create more space for people to be safe on the road.
We've been urging the Mayor of Providence, Jorge Elorza, to follow the lead of many other cities and bring open streets to our city. We've shared our Open Streets Implementation Guide and worked with partners like the Providence Streets Coalition, RI Bike, and Walk PVD to share about the benefits of this policy. More than 200 people signed a Change.org petition in support of open streets. And today, we celebrate, as advocacy leads to action! According to the Providence Journal, the city will soon be closing streets to car traffic to make space for pedestrians and bicyclists to safely social distance. As a spokeswoman for the city said, "“This creates a controlled, safe environment for pedestrians and people riding bicycles, which is a top priority." We are thrilled!
Hoping to bring open streets and extended sidewalks to your community? We’ve got resources to support your advocacy — check out our implementation guide and our email template to send to your city officials. Questions? Let us know how we can help!
“Due care” laws are aimed at preventing accidents and mitigating hazards, in this case for the walkers, runners, cyclists, and others who use our streets for transportation and recreation. Passing vulnerable road user protection laws is a positive step toward increasing awareness amongst drivers to be #safeontheroad and to #drivelikeyourunhere.
Thanks to Senator Archambault and Representative McNamara for sponsoring these bills!
Here is Kaitlin's testimony:
My name is Kaitlin Goodman, from Providence, RI. I am speaking in favor of House Bill H7259, The Vulnerable Road User legislation.
I am a professional distance runner for Adidas and an Olympic hopeful. I hold a Masters in Public Health from Brown University, and I am the founder and director of Safe of the Road, a nonprofit committed to promoting safer streets for runners, pedestrians, and cyclists. But I come before you today as a vulnerable road user.
As I train for the Olympic Trials Marathon, I run thousands of miles across our state each year, on our trails, bike paths, and roads. In the summer of 2018, while on a training run near my home on the East Side, I was very nearly hit by a distracted driver. I had to jump out of the way – and while I successfully avoided getting hit by the car, I was severely injured in the process, partially tearing the hamstring tendon off my pelvis. The resulting injury left me unable to run for 3 months and nearly ended my Olympic dreams. It cost me thousands of dollars in medical bills for treatment and rehab, not to mention the thousands of dollars of lost income when I was unable to train and compete. But the biggest loss for me was not financial – rather, it was losing my ability to run and do the sport I love.
In the wake of this incident with the distracted driver, I founded Safe on the Road. Through our work, I’ve heard hundreds of stories similar to mine from other runners, cyclists, and pedestrians. In some cases, these stories have worse, much more tragic endings than mine. I stand before you today to ask you to acknowledge me, my story, and the many other stories of Rhode Island runners, walkers, and bikers. I support House Bill 7259 because it recognizes vulnerable road users like me as legitimate road users under the law, and sends a powerful signal that my life and my wellbeing are important and worth protecting, and that I have a right to be safe on the road.
Thank you to the House Judiciary Committee.
Founder, Safe on the Road