WEST CHESTER – As the outdoor activity season is in full swing and children prepare to return to school, Chester County has launched a safety awareness campaign to keep pedestrians and cyclists safe – and conscious drivers.

The walk. Stroll. Conduct. The Safety campaign offers tips and rules for drivers, cyclists and walkers when sharing lanes. The more congested urban and suburban areas of the county make security awareness very important.

“We have seen a significant increase in the number of people walking and biking since the start of the pandemic, not to the extent that we saw in the beginning when the trails were crowded, but we are seeing more people going out now than ‘before COVID-19,’ Chester said. Marian Moskowitz, Chair of County Commissioners. “It’s a very positive development to see more people taking advantage of opportunities to walk or cycle, but it also means we all have to be very careful.”

The county identified the need for a safety awareness campaign even before the pandemic. Over a five-year period between 2015 and 2020, Chester County reported 521 traffic accidents involving pedestrians and cyclists, including 25 fatalities, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.

“To help reduce both the number and severity of accidents, we’ve teamed up with regional partners to provide simple – yet impactful – safety tips for everyone who uses the county’s roads and trails – whether it’s either on foot, by bike or by car,” Commissioner Josh Maxwell said. “Everyone sharing the road has a responsibility to be careful, but pedestrians are the most vulnerable. It is important that walkers, cyclists and motorists work together to make the road safe for everyone.

Social media posts will remind pedestrians to keep their phones down and their heads held high when walking along a road, to walk facing traffic and to keep to the left. The messages will remind cyclists not to use their phones and to make themselves highly visible with lights and reflectors. The displays will remind drivers to slow down and move over to safely pass walkers and joggers.

“The surest way to expand transportation choices is to create and maintain separate networks like bike lanes, sidewalks, and car lanes. But when separate lanes are not possible, then it is necessary to share lanes on foot, by bike or by car,” added Commissioner Michelle Kichline. “It is in these cases that security awareness is crucial. These social media posts depict road situations in an engaging way that we believe will capture the audience’s attention and drive home the point.

Local governments, in addition to the constituency and the pedestrian public, now have to deal with these safety issues. Chester County Planning Commission Executive Director Brian O’Leary noted that safety concerns have prompted the construction of far more sidewalks in Chester County than just a few decades ago.

“In growth areas, we have seen a shift where most municipalities and communities are requiring the construction of sidewalks to keep people from walking on the road,” he said. “The Planning Commission is beginning a trail study to see how sections of municipal and other potential trails connect to the established trail circuit and where missing segments could be filled. We want to continue to expand transportation choices. »

In addition to the Urban Planning Commission, partners are involved in the Walk. Stroll. Conduct. The Safe program includes the Chester County Health Department, Department of Emergency Services, Parks + Preservation, as well as PennDOT, Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia, SEPTA, TMACC, Greater Valley Forge TMA, DVRPC, and West Chester University .

For more information on Chester County’s Cycling and Pedestrian Safety Campaign, visit www.chesco.org/sharetheride.

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