BEND, OR -- Commute Options hopes to address the high number of preventable traffic crashes involving bicycles, with a one-year pilot program. "New in 2018, we have a partnership in ODOT – you know, they fund most of our safety programs. And, we’re going to be offering a ‘Friendly Driver’ education program to fleet drivers," says Kim Curley, with Commute Options. "So, say the beer delivery trucks or even the produce truck. Preventing fatalities and serious injury crashes is one of our main concerns."
According to Oregon Department of Transportation statistics, a third of Bend’s fatal crashes involve a person biking or walking across a busy street. The primary mistake drivers make is inattention, then turning directly into the path of a bike; while some bicyclists put themselves in danger by riding at night without proper lighting, and going against traffic. Curley tells KBND News, "This new grant is going to help us out with reaching drivers about being a friendly driver to those other modes – those other users. This is not to point the finger at anybody, but ODOT did do some data collection and Deschutes County does have a rather high number of these incidents." She adds, "About half the time, the crashes are the fault or to blame [of] the driver; and the other half the time, the bike. So, getting everybody up to speed and looking for each other is our goal."
Bend Bicyclist Killed In Collision With Delivery Truck
The $30,000 ODOT grant will pay for one year of the “Friendly Driver” program, although Curley hopes will result in lives saved. Scheduling for the class will begin in January.