Circulate San Diego, a regional special interest group, released data on Jan. 15, 2020 showing that 44 people traveling by foot, bicycle, motorcycle, or car died in San Diego throughout 2019. This data comes at a time when local government officials have been taking steps to monitor a changing transportation landscape.
Of the 44 vehicular accident-related deaths in 2019, 22 were pedestrians and five were bicyclists. Pedestrian deaths as a whole decreased from 34 in the previous year. However, bicyclist deaths were up from zero fatalities in both 2017 and 2018.
Maya Rosas, a representative of Circulate San Diego, spoke to the UCSD Guardian about what the organization hopes the city will do to decrease collision-related deaths.
“We urge the current mayor and any future administration to prioritize safe streets within existing transportation funding through the annual budget process,” Rosas said. “San Diego can prioritize infrastructure improvements that can save lives using data-driven methods. The city must also focus on educating everyone on how to safely share the road so that the most vulnerable people, pedestrians and bicyclists, are safe.”
Rosas also discussed how her organization is partnering with local government officials to implement new transportation safety initiatives in a campaign called “Vision Zero,” which aims for San Diego to have zero traffic related fatalities and injuries by 2025.
“Circulate San Diego is currently working with the City of San Diego to increase awareness of Vision Zero goals through educational campaigns such as the ‘Don’t Be A Distracted Driver’ pledge, interactive scooter safety demonstrations, and informational signage highlighting street safety improvements,” Rosas said. “In addition, Circulate San Diego is working with the County of San Diego and San Diego Police Department on a variety of presentations, workshops, and events aimed at informing residents and decision makers about collision prevention through education and infrastructure design.”
Government officials have responded to the increase of micro-mobility vehicles and single-user transportation devices like electric scooters and bicycles with new regulations throughout the city, county, and on campus at UC San Diego.
In April 2019, the San Diego City Council passed new regulations for app-rented bicycle and scooter companies. The rules included a new process for companies to be allowed to operate within the city, limited speeds for devices in designated areas, and a requirement for users to scan a valid driver’s license with the app before using the device.
Additionally, the city of San Diego has partnered with organizations like Circulate San Diego to incorporate innovative methods for preventing collision-related accidents. Mayor Kevin Faulconer committed the city to upgrading 300 intersections, done throughout 2020, to be more pedestrian friendly.
UCSD has also taken new steps to decrease collisions between pedestrians and micro-mobility vehicle users. At the beginning of the 2019-2020 school year, new signs were posted around the campus to designate areas as either pedestrian only or mixed-use.
In Nov. 2019, the UCSD Police Department proposed new regulations on micro-mobility devices that would have introduced a number of new rules if they had been passed, including a ban on cell-phone use while using micro-mobility devices and requiring such vehicles to use lights or reflective material during dark hours of the day.
Circulate San Diego is a non-profit special interest group advocating for safer mobility options within San Diego county.
Photo by Alexandra Fustei for the UCSD Guardian.