What to know about traffic safety in Calgary

With warm weather finally gracing Alberta with its presence, more pedestrians and cyclists are out on the streets after being bound to their cars and the +15 system all winter. As May is Traffic Safety month in Calgary, the city is using this time to share information on the role that each and every one of us plays in keeping the roads safe.

In 2017, Calgary saw nearly 38,000 motor vehicle collisions, resulting in over 2,600 injuries and eleven fatalities. Many of these collisions would have been avoidable with small changes to how people drive, walk and cycle. Tony Churchill, the leader of Traffic Safety, urges Calgary residents to slow down, put away your phone and pay attention to the road. Statistics show that the risk of collision goes up five times when talking on the phone and driving while up to 24 times when texting and driving.

The City of Calgary is also exploring a number of traffic safety initiatives to help reduce the number of injury collisions:

  • Rectangular rapid flashing beacons at crosswalks
  • Traffic calming curbs
  • Adjusting residential speed limits
  • Education on playgrounds and construction zone safety

From May 26-29, Calgary will be hosting the Canadian Association of Road Safety Professionals at Hotel Arts. The conference will bring together the best of the best from across North America in an effort to help make our roads safer. The theme of the conference is the Vision Zero program, built on the belief that traffic-related deaths and injuries are preventable and that we should strive to have zero. The concept originally gained traction in Sweden and they have seen a huge decrease in traffic injuries and deaths since starting the program.

In recent years, the City of Calgary has put major emphasis on traffic safety with the 5 E’s of Safer Mobility:

  1. Engagement– Engage stakeholders and the public to build trust and effective dialogue to help solve issues.
  2. Engineering– Road safety reviews, audits and data collection to make the roads safer in the most efficient ways possible.
  3. Education– All the changes can be made, but if no one is aware of them or how to utilize them, they will never see their full potential.
  4. Enforcement– Once new bylaws are implemented, enforcement of them will be key in seeing changes made are used properly and effectively.
  5. Evaluation & Innovation– This ties into engineering as changes will be evaluated and changed based on results.

The city is doing everything it can to make its citizens safer; however, this is a two-way street. Our officials can do all the research and planning, but it takes the public to be educated and engaged to really see these initiatives work. To find more information on Calgary’s traffic safety programs, visit the traffic safety website. In the meantime, put your phone away and drive safe.

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