Local pedestrian, bicycle and motorist safety education campaign aims to reduce number of collisions

SPOKANE, Wash. – July 5, 2011 – When it comes to collisions involving pedestrians or bicyclists and motorists in Spokane County, there is confusion for all users of the road on when to grant the right of way. 

When to yield to others is just one of several safety messages the Spokane Regional Health District will stress as part of an educational campaign it will launch this week aimed at all users of the road. Under the name Stickman Knows, and through its associated Web site,, the campaign aims to help Spokane residents understand their roles in reducing the number of pedestrian and bicyclist collisions in Spokane County. 

On average, 20 pedestrians and bicyclists are hit in Spokane County every month. Of the 997 pedestrian and bicyclist collisions occurring between 2006 and 2009, 3 percent resulted in death, while 11 percent resulted in serious injury. The goal of Stickman Knows is to reduce the number of crashes, injuries and fatalities by educating pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists alike about safe practices on Spokane area roadways.

“Safer transportation is about more than just infrastructure. If our residents aren’t accountable for understanding the laws—or choose not to pay attention to them—it makes it that much more difficult for us to improve the overall biking and walking experience in Spokane,” said sergeant Eric Olsen, with the Spokane Police Department and Spokane County Target Zero Task Force. “Stickman Knows addresses so many of the reasons police see these collisions occur, that’s why we’re optimistic it will achieve its goals in reducing collisions.” 

“Bringing Stickman Knows to life has been an exhaustive process culminating in really important data about what is causing these collisions, where they occur most frequently, who the target audiences are and what they need to know,” said Dr. Joel McCullough, SRHD health officer. 

The following are some of the facts on granting right of way, and other factors contributing to collisions in Spokane County:

  • When a pedestrian is at fault for a collision with a motorist, the main reasons are the pedestrian failed to cross in a crosswalk or at an intersection, and not granting right of way to the vehicle.
  • When a bicyclist is at fault for a collision with a motorist, the two main reasons are the bicyclist did not grant the right of way to the vehicle and the bicyclist was traveling on the wrong side of the road.
  • When a motorist collides with a pedestrian the main reason is that the motorist failed to yield to the right of way to the pedestrian.
  • When a motorist collides with a bicyclist, the primary reasons are the motorist’s failure to yield to the right of way of the bicyclist and inattention of the driver.

The media campaign will feature facts likes these, as well as rules of the road and safety tips. The main messages being:

  • Pedestrians, always cross at corners or in crosswalks.
  • Pedestrians, before crossing a street, look left, right, then left again.
  • Pedestrians, make sure you're visible to drivers, wear bright and/or reflective clothing.
  • Bicyclists, always stop at traffic lights and stop signs.
  • Bicyclists, ride with traffic, not against it.
  • Bicyclists, you're safer when a driver knows what to expect. Obey traffic laws and ride like the vehicle you are. Be predictable.
  • Motorists, bicyclists have all the same rights on the road as drivers.
  • Motorists, watch for bicyclists and pedestrians, especially at intersections and particularly when turning.

The campaign will be visible in many parts of Spokane County including at; on TV commercials, billboard and bus advertisements, print ads, and promotional items; and at community events, in schools and neighborhoods—specifically in high collision areas.

Additional funds will go toward law enforcement emphasis patrols, bicycle helmet distribution via Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) and Sheriff Oriented Community Policing Effort (SCOPE), and pedestrian and bicycle education in schools. The Spokane Regional Transportation Council board chose to fund approximately $200,000 for the Stickman Knows campaign via a Transportation Enhancement grant provided by the Washington Department of Transportation.

More information can also be found at SRHD’s website offers comprehensive, updated information about Spokane Regional Health District and its triumphs in making Spokane a safer and healthier community.