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SR-17 (2013-2014)

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Senate Resolution No. 17

Introduced by Senators Evans and DeSaulnier

August 12, 2013

Relative to bicycle and pedestrian safety.


SR 17, as introduced, Evans.

WHEREAS, The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) National Center for States and Analysis reports that in 2010 almost one-fifth, or 19 percent, of all children between five and nine years of age who were killed in traffic crashes were pedestrians. Children 15 years of age and younger accounted for 7 percent of the pedestrian fatalities and 23 percent of all pedestrians injured in traffic crashes in 2010 ; and
WHEREAS, NHTSA reported that in 2011, 677 bicyclists were killed, an increase of 59 from 2010, and an additional 52,000 were injured in motor vehicle traffic crashes. Bicyclists under 16 years of age accounted for 11 percent of all those killed and 21 percent of those injured in traffic crashes in 2010 ; and
WHEREAS, NHTSA further reported that pedestrian deaths from traffic collisions have increased 4 percent from 2005 to 2010, inclusive; and
WHEREAS, The California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) reports that injuries and deaths caused by traffic collisions involving pedestrians increased from 601 in 2010 to 625 in 2011, or 3.9 percent, and for bicyclists from 99 in 2010 to 114 in 2011, or 13 percent; and
WHEREAS, Recent studies by the National Council on Youth Sports, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission, and the National Institute of Health (NIH) found that children 5 to 18 years of age, inclusive, and adults continue to be victims of pedestrian, bicycle, and skateboard accidents; and
WHEREAS, Education programs recommended by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the Safe Routes To School (SRTS) National Partnership assume most of the accidents involving bicycle riding, using a skateboard, and walking in traffic that result in injury or death are due to a lack of knowledge on the part of victims and drivers of motor vehicles, therefore, preventable, and would not have occurred had those involved made educated and informed decisions regarding safe behavior as pedestrians, bicyclists, skateboarders, and drivers of motor vehicles; and
WHEREAS, According to the California School Board Association (CSBA), the SRTS National Partnership, the FHWA, and the California Department of Motor Vehicles, the best method of prevention of pedestrian and bicycle traffic accidents is education at key points in life for both children and adults. Comprehensive and sustainable education, with repeated reminders through the public schools and public mass media messages, will lead to fewer pedestrian, bicycle, and skateboard injuries and deaths; and
WHEREAS, The current status for participation in SRTS National Partnership education curriculum by schools in California can best be described as fractured. How many schools participate, for how long, and for which program, as well as how it is funded, are difficult to determine. It can be estimated that with only very few exceptions, only a small number of all California schools participate for a limited time until limited funds are exhausted. Using Sonoma County as an example, according to the SRTS National Partnership Director for the Sonoma County Bike Coalition, currently out of 177 schools, only 24, or less than 14 percent, participate in at least one of the five components of the SRTS National Partnership program; and
WHEREAS, CSBA and the SRTS National Partnership encourage and recommend that schools and local jurisdictions participate and support bicycle and pedestrian education programs, both through policy initiatives and financial support where currently available; and
WHEREAS, According to FHWA, NHTSA, OTS, the CSBA and the SRTS National Partnership, a detailed safety skills curriculum included at key grade levels, such as third, sixth, and ninth grades, with ongoing reminders at all grades, will ensure that all school children will be provided the opportunity to learn the rules of the road related to the responsibilities and rights for pedestrians, bicyclists, and skateboarders; and
WHEREAS, SRTS National Partnership, CDC, NHTSA, FHWA, and OTS publications suggest that the inclusion of curriculum in the State of California frameworks for health and physical education designed for all children with involvement of parents and community members will reduce the incidence of pedestrian, bicycle, and skateboard accidents when the curriculum for safety instruction is implemented; and
WHEREAS, Motor vehicle drivers should be prepared to share the road and should consider that all pedestrians, bicycle riders, and skateboard riders are someone’s, children, parents, or friends; and
WHEREAS, According to OTS, when considering traffic fatalities, California has adopted the slogan “Toward Zero Deaths, Every 1 Counts”; now, therefore, be it
Resolved by the Senate of the State of California, That the Senate encourages the State of California to promote a comprehensive and sustainable program, such as the existing model curriculum for pedestrian and bicycle safety now in use in most of schools of the County of Marin and other schools located throughout the United States, and endorse increased pedestrian, bicycle, and skateboard safety education programs ; and be it further
Resolved, That the Senate encourages parents and teachers to ensure that children learn defensive walking, bike riding, and skateboarding in traffic, including wearing a helmet when bike riding or skateboarding, and learning the dangers of using any electronic devise or headphones when walking, bike riding, or skateboarding; and be it further
Resolved, That the Senate encourages the State Department of Education to require all teachers to be trained to teach bicycle and pedestrian safety; and be it further
Resolved, That the Secretary of the Senate transmit copies of this resolution to the author for appropriate distribution.