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Wichita group aims to raise awareness for victims of traffic accidents

Published: Nov. 21, 2021 at 8:24 PM CST
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - Pedaling and stepping for action, Bike Walk Wichita takes to the streets and sidewalks to raise awareness about the large number of pedestrians injured or killed in crashes with cars in 2021.

On this World Day of Remembrance, which recognizes victims of traffic accidents, Bike Walk Wichita seeks to draw attention to this issue.

Attending the Bike Walk Wichita World Day of Remembrance event, Lisa Frey-Blume said, “We know that traffic crashes involving pedestrians and bicyclists are preventable.”

That includes a man in a wheelchair who was died Monday night after a car west of Wichita State hit him in an unactivated crosswalk. Wichitans have become concerned after an alarming year on Wichita streets.

“Growing rate of pedestrian-involved crashes in Wichita has been quite alarming,” said Kim Neufeld, Bike Walk Wichita Executive Director.

Wichita Police data collected by Bike Walk Wichita this year show more than 120 pedestrians and bicyclists have been injured or killed in crashes involving cars. By the first three months of 2021, more people have been killed biking and walking on Wichita roads than all of last year.

Neufeld said, “Pause for a few moments, just to remember those who have been seriously hurt or killed.”

On this World Day of Remembrance, which recognizes victims of traffic accidents, Bike Walk Wichita is seeking to draw attention to this issue.

“As a result, we will raise awareness and have better infrastructure for cyclists and pedestrians,” stated Barry Carroll, founder of Bike Walk Wichita.

Those taking part in this day of remembrance walked or biked to some of the locations where pedestrians and cyclists have been hit by a car this year.

That included Lisa Frey-Blume, who said there are ways to design roads to make them safer for all users on a government level.

Frey-Blume said, “Doing road diets, on streets like this. Douglas is slated to have a road diet, which means there would be fewer lanes and the street would be more designed to accommodate all kinds of traffic.”

“We know the road diets, reducing speeds, the improvements that they have been doing around the city work. They a difference, and they save lives,” said Neufeld.

As more people are leaving their cars at home, opting for walking, biking or using electric scooters, Carroll said he has seen things improve for pedestrians.

“General education that we need to share the road, so I’m seeing that motorists are more respectful now than they were just a few years ago,” Carroll said.

That type of education is required to make a difference as well and save lives.

Frey-Blume said, “We all have a part to play, our residents. No matter what kind of user you are, you need to be aware of the other users of the road.”

“For motorists to slow down and be aware and it’s a two way street. We want cyclists to obey the laws and we want motorists to obey the laws for everyone to be safe,” Carroll said.

They believe that while progress is being made, the numbers now is not a time to back off.

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