Seattle has widely been known as one of the best cities for bicycling in the country. However, how safe you are as a cyclist – or pedestrian – can depend on what part of the city you’re in. Councilmember Tammy Morales, who represents South End District 2, wants to do something about that.
Councilmember Morales is working to get added funding in the 2023-24 budget to improve bike lanes, increase cameras in school zones and lower speed limits for South Seattle. Her concern is valid. While her district includes about one-seventh of the population of the city (many of whom are non-white), nearly half of Seattle’s traffic fatalities occur there. Just this fall, two pedestrians were killed by vehicles.
Better protection is needed for cyclists along busy roads
Part of the issue is that the district includes two busy roads that used to be state highways. Further, some neighborhoods don’t have any sidewalks. Several other council members are also supporting efforts to move money from a general fund to go toward safety improvements like “Toronto barriers” to separate car lanes from bike lanes. These are concrete barriers that offer greater protection than plastic posts and simple painted lines that are often used.
It’s a sad irony that the areas of cities that often lack the infrastructure to keep residents safe are often the ones where fewer people have cars and therefore have to walk or cycle to get where they’re going. However, any area where pedestrians and cyclists are not a safe distance from motorists is a danger to anyone passing through.
Lack of adequate investments in safety for those who walk or bike is, of course, no excuse for the actions of a reckless or negligent driver. If you or a loved one has suffered injuries or worse, it’s wise to seek legal guidance to help ensure that you get the justice and compensation you deserve.