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New road safety public awareness campaign launched

A new road safety public awareness campaign is being launched by the province to encourage drivers and cyclists to be more aware of each other while travelling on Manitoba’s streets and roads. This announcement was made by Local Government Minister Ron Lemieux and Justice Minister Andrew Swan, minister responsible for Manitoba Public Insurance (MPI).

“Our government is committed to ensuring the safety of all road users,” said Lemieux. “Any fatality or serious injury is tragic, and we need to continue to find ways to prevent such occurrences. We will continue to improve the safety of cyclists and pedestrians so that more Manitobans enjoy the health, environmental and financial benefits of engaging in active transportation.”

“The province is committed to making active transportation a safe and viable transportation choice. We work closely with MPI and other stakeholders to raise awareness of safety issues affecting vulnerable road users,” said Swan. “This campaign will provide helpful tips to both motorists and cyclists that can make travel safer.”

The campaign will run through the month of June to create awareness about safe ways to share the road while driving and cycling. It will also promote cycling as a healthy, active form of transportation. The ministers noted that interest and participation in active transportation is increasing. While walking is the most common form of active transportation, the number of people choosing to walk or cycle is on the rise in Canadian cities of all sizes. In Winnipeg, cycling increased 67 per cent between 2007 and 2012.

“Sharing the road is a two-way street, used by both cyclists and motorists,” said MaryAnn Kempe, vice-president, community and corporate relations, Manitoba Public Insurance. “Whether a motorist or cyclist, we are all expected to show courtesy and respect for our fellow road users. By putting important safety tips into practice, we can do our part to reduce risk and avoid bicycle-vehicle collisions.”

Provincial initiatives to increase the safety factor of cyclists and motor vehicles sharing the road include:

  • introducing legislation to require helmets for youth under 18;
  • updating provincial legislation enabling municipalities to develop a variety of cycle ways and allowing local traffic authorities to establish lowered speed limits in school zones;
  • providing over 89,000 low-cost helmets to families including over 8,000 no-cost helmets to families in need;
  • expanding training for drivers and cyclists, and ensuring they have up-to-date information about how to share the road through driver’s training and programs such as CAN-BIKE and MPI’s Cycling Champions; and
  • working with safety partners such as school divisions, health authorities, law enforcement and non-profit organizations to deliver programs such as Active and Safe Routes to School, Safe Kids Week and the We Caught You Using Your Head campaign.

“Increasing safety and awareness is something we all have to work at together,” said Swan. “Education, training, enhanced legislation and infrastructure improvements are all part of a broad strategy to keep our roads safer.”

“Manitoba has made significant strides in all these areas and will continue to work with our various road safety partners in the public, not-for-profit, private, health and enforcement communities to do so,” added Lemieux.

In Manitoba in 2010, there were a total of 7,130 victims of traffic collisions. Pedestrians accounted for six per cent of all fatalities and cyclists accounted for four per cent. In 2010, there were 770 nonvehicle occupants injured in traffic collisions and of these 50 per cent were pedestrians and 34 per cent were cyclists.

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