One of the County's strategic goals is to create a safe, healthy and caring community. Encouraging people to walk or ride their bicycle lessens traffic congestion, improves public health, and improves air quality.
Bicycling is a major part of the culture of Sonoma County. As many of us in the cycling community know, cyclists have been the subject of harassment by aggressive drivers. In order to help make our streets safer for both bicyclists and pedestrians I led Sonoma County to adopt the Vulnerable Road Users Ordinance which provides a new tool to confront dangerous road users and reinforce our right to the road. Cyclists tell me they feel safer and I am encouraged by the constructive dialogue between drivers and cyclists who are sharing their viewpoints.
Last year I formed a pedestrian and bicycle safety group called the Sonoma County Safe Streets Coalition. We have launched a very visible campaign to raise awareness of pedestrian and bicycle safety issues.
Bumper stickers have been distributed; we have aired public service announcements on radio and television; we have stenciled crosswalks; newspaper ads have been printed; we have banner ads on public transit; we have safety messages installed on the back of ambulances, and we have a billboard on Highway 101 in Petaluma!
Remarkably, all of this was accomplished almost entirely with donated goods and services. Many thanks to St. Joseph Health, Sonoma County Transit, Petaluma Transit, Republic Services, KZST, Comcast, KRCB, City of Santa Rosa, and American Medical Response for your generosity and shared resources.
Together, we can make our roads safer for all of us in Sonoma County. I am asking you to take a pledge and commit to parking your phone while you drive. It may save your life and a life of a loved one.