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Louisville mayor launches pedestrian safety program

Goal is zero fatal pedestrian crashes

 LOUISVILLE, Ky. (April 16, 2015) – Mayor Greg Fischer today launched a new pedestrian safety program called Look Alive Louisville. The campaign goal is to greatly reduce the number of pedestrian/vehicle collisions and bring to zero the number that result in pedestrian fatalities.

Louisville Metro Mayor Greg Fischer
Louisville Metro Mayor Greg Fischer

Louisville has averaged 16 pedestrian deaths for each of the last five years, and the number has grown in each of the past three years, reaching 18 in 2014. Our rate of pedestrian fatalities per 100,000 residents is 2.57. That’s higher than the national rate of 2.33. “These numbers are not acceptable,” Fischer said.

“We want to add to the many things that Louisville is proud of, being recognized among the safest cities in the nation for pedestrians,” he said. That’s where Look Alive Louisville comes in. The program is aimed at changing the behaviors of pedestrians and drivers that contribute to collisions.

One of the biggest factors is inattention and distraction. The program includes a 13-week advertising campaign aimed at getting walkers and motorists to recognize that pedestrians crossing the street is serious business that requires the full attention of both.

It means each person taking responsibility for catching the eye of the other at intersections to make sure the other party knows of your intentions.. It means following the rules for yielding the right of way but also recognizing that even when you are entitled to the right of way, you don’t actually have it until it is yielded to you.

There should be no texting, dialing or other distracting activity by pedestrians crossing the street or drivers behind the wheel.

Thanks to a three-year $307,000 grant awarded last year by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there will also be a K-12 safety education component, an adult safety education component, and training for Louisville Metro Police. Officers are also stepping up enforcement through the use of pedestrian decoys to catch drivers who fail to yield when they should.

Fischer also announced that he is taking part in the Mayors’ Challenge issued by U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. The challenge calls on local elected officials around the country to take significant action to improve safety for bicyclists and pedestrians over the next year.

The city will continue to design new road projects and improve old ones to take into account the needs of motorists, pedestrians and cyclists. Data on biking and walking will also be tracked.

The Mayor also launched a contest to name the Look Alive Louisville mascot. It’s a walking fleur-de-lis that will be used in advertising and outreach programs. The figure can be found on the program website at http://louisvilleky.gov/government/public-works/look-alive-louisville.

Name suggestions will be accepted until 5 p.m. on May 6, and a winner will be announced shortly thereafter. Names should be submitted on Twitter to @louisvillemayor using the hashtag #lookalivename.