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Provo City’s Greatest Opportunity to Improve Public Safety

Halloween weekend was the deadliest weekend on Utah’s roads according to Utah Highway Patrol. The agency reported ten deaths, half of which were children crossing the street.

Sadly, Provo experienced two tragic crashes as well. In the last week of October, two Provo children were severely injured from being hit by drivers while walking or biking.

My neighbor, eight year-old Henry Cahill, was run over by a driver while he was biking in front of my house in a hit and run incident. Henry is recovering from three broken ribs, a broken bone in his face, staples in his leg, grade three liver and kidney lacerations, internal bleeding, a concussion, and road rash covering his entire body. I encourage you to help his family pay for his recovery.

A few days later, a driver hit a 16 year-old boy in a crosswalk near 3640 N Canyon Road, likely while the boy was walking to school. He suffered head injuries and broken bones.

Auto crashes are a leading cause of death in the US and often the top cause of death for US children (NHTSA). Traffic violence kills about twice as many people than homicides in this country (CDC). Around the US, people’s safety and quality of life are negatively impacted by streets that are designed primarily for auto speeds.

Twenty-first century government agencies are changing how they design and build streets. They are calming traffic and building safe places to walk and bike. For our safety and quality of life, Provo City Government must follow suit.

Provo City Government is now in the process of hiring a new City Engineer, someone who will have authority over the design of our streets. Their designs will make or break Provo’s public safety for decades to come. Our Mayor ran on a platform of improving public safety–now is her opportunity to walk the talk.

I ask the Provo community to encourage our City leaders, who have significant say over this decision, to choose a candidate who favors people’s safety over auto speeds.

Join me in contacting our City leaders here: https://actionnetwork.org/letters/provo-citys-new-city-engineer/ 

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Austin Taylor is Executive Director of BikeWalk Provo, a nonprofit advocacy group that advocates for street design and culture that makes it safe, convenient, and fun for all people to move around by bike or foot.

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