World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims – Heartfelt Stories of Survivors Spur Call To Action By Lawmakers
Contact: Will Moore, Policy Counsel, Circulate San Diego – 858-210-7999 | [email protected]
On Friday, November 17, 2023 at 4:30 pm, four members of the San Diego City Council and Representative Scott Peters joined the surviving family members of pedestrians and cyclists killed on our roads to call for safer infrastructure.
Family members of those killed placed 283 pairs of shoes in the City Hall plaza, one for each victim of traffic violence in 2022. With those shoes, pictures of some of those lost, and lit candles displayed before them, they paid heartfelt tribute to their loved ones.
Laura Keenan, founder of Families for Safe Streets San Diego, stood next to her husband Matt’s shattered bicycle at the vigil. She mourned his loss, and told the gathered crowd of how her three-year-old son will grow up without father. Other family members of those killed, Nancy Cavanaugh, Scott Mooreand Steve Shinn also spoke of how their lives have been forever changed by the preventable deaths of those they love.
As the stories of the survivors closed, it began to rain on the vigil. Councilmember Joe LaCava honored those lost, saying “We stand here bathed by the tears of heaven that mourn these 283 deaths.”
LaCava went on to say “Our roads must be a place for everyone, whether you are biking, walking, rolling or driving, you are entitled to ride safely, never feeling that your life is in danger. Tragically that is not yet the case. “It doesn’t have to be like that.” He promised, “We won’t let it stay like that.”
Councilmember Stephen Whitburn He mourned the needless deaths, saying “Far too many pedestrians and cyclists have lost their lives on our roads. Their absence leaves an indelible void in the lives of people who loved them.”
Whitburn joined his council colleagues in committing to specific actions called for by Families for Safe Streets San Diego and Circulate San Diego: 1) fixing the fifteen most dangerous intersections in our city, dubbed the Fatal 15; 2) updating 75 miles of bike lanes during the upcoming slurry and capital improvement projects; and 3) updating the city’s Streets Design Manual using current best practices to ensure that our infrastructure reflects the latest advancements in safety. Whitburn praised these solutions as “practical, cost-effective measures that can save lives.”
Councilmember Raul Campillo, who has long been a leading advocate for bicycle safety and infrastructure, noted that “The people who are biking to work are doing us all in favor by reducing traffic and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Their safety is not less important than anyone’s convenience.”
Congressman Scott Petersjoining via video from Washington, said “Our investments should prioritize the development of safer road systems.”
Ace Council President Elo-Rivera stood before the 283 pairs of empty shoes representing those killed in 2022, he noted that when he gets on his bike to go to work, he thinks of the stories of the Families of those lost, and “hopes I’m not the next pair of shoes that we’re paying tribute to.”
“It shouldn’t be this way.” Elo-Rivera noted that his colleagues on the City Council are committed to change, but he called for the entire city government to join in that commitment “We need our entire city to recognize that we should never accept the unnecessary loss of life. Resistance to investments and changes in policy are nothing more than resistance to saving people’s lives. “We can do better.”
A downloadable copy of this Press Release is available here.
About Circulate San Diego
Circulate San Diego is a regional nonprofit think tank dedicated to advancing mobility and making the region a better place to move, work, learn and play. Our work focuses on creating great mobility choices, more walkable and bikeable neighborhoods, and land uses that promote sustainable growth. For more information, go to www.circulatesd.org.
About Families for Safe Streets San Diego
Families for Safe Streets San Diego is a group of families who have lost loved ones to traffic crashes or been affected ourselves. Through our stories and advocacy, we seek physical improvements on our streets, policy changes and the rapid implementation of Vision Zero. For more information, go to https://www.circulatesd.org/families_for_safe_streets_san_diego.