Arkansas Good Roads Foundation launches a year-long initiative to ensure safer roads
Bentonville, Ark. (Aug. 11, 2020) – Northwest Arkansas community leaders and area stakeholders today joined the Arkansas Good Roads Foundation in launching the “Good Roads are Safe Roads” public safety campaign. Livestreamed from The Great Hall at Crystal Bridges, the event gave local stakeholders the opportunity to learn more about the ambitious year-long initiative.
While the devasting impact of the COVID-19 pandemic left us virtually housebound for months, one bright spot that developed was the new appreciation many now have for being outdoors and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. But as the number of bikes on the road continues to climb so does the potential for accidents and injuries. The “Good Roads are Safe Roads” initiative aims to educate the public about both new and long-standing laws, improving road safety for motorists, cyclists and pedestrians alike. “Northwest Arkansas community leaders know our robust bike culture is a boon to our region’s quality of life, serving as a driver of the local economy and recruitment efforts,” Arkansas Good Roads Foundation Executive Director Joe Quinn explained. “But not enough people are paying attention to the need for increased safety. Surveys indicate that less than a quarter of Arkansans consider themselves very knowledgeable about bicycle related traffic laws. That simply has to change for the benefit of our collective safety.”
Arkansas officially enacted a new bicycle safety law in 2019, making it legal for cyclists to treat stop lights as stop signs and stop signs as yield signs. This single transportation enhancement has been shown to reduce collisions between cyclists and vehicles elsewhere in the country, where research found bicycle injuries dropped by 14.5 percent immediately following the law’s implementation.
As the population of Northwest Arkansas grows, significant investments have been made in cycling infrastructure in the region, elevating our area into one of the premier bike friendly communities in the country. And with that designation comes tourism, leading to the potential for great economic growth in well-integrated biking communities.
“Our biking culture is a shared vision within our community and factors in as a large part of our identity in Northwest Arkansas,” shared Jeremy Pate, Home Region Senior Program Officer of the Walton Family Foundation. “Because we have this incredible support and love for biking, which continues to grow in our region now is the time to do everything we can to make our roads safer for our cyclists and the other vehicles we share the roads with. Increased knowledge and safety are a win for everyone.”
According to a report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, cycling fatalities per 100,000 bike commuters is at an all-time high, increasing by 25 percent from 2010 to 2017. That is of particular significance to our region because research from the Walton Family Foundation found 27 percent of Northwest Arkansans cycle, which is substantially higher than the national average of 16 percent. To show their continued support for cycling initiatives in the area, the Walton Family Foundation has provided a grant to the Arkansas Good Roads Foundation to help better educate drivers and cyclists, so that all who share the roads are safe.
“The State of Arkansas continues to invest in transportation enhancements that pay specific attention to the safety of cyclists,” said Arkansas Good Roads Foundation Executive Board President Dan Flowers. “With every project we take on, we consider how important education is for the safety of everyone on the roads. A cyclist that knows the rules of the road is great, but it’s even better if every cyclist, driver, and pedestrian is just as knowledgeable.”
The livestreamed program featured a conversation with Quinn, Walton Family Foundation Home Region Senior Program Officer Jeremy Pate, Bentonville City Council Member Aubrey Patterson, Shiloh Communications partner Teresa Crossland, and Alex Hinojosa, 4media group Executive Vice President for Insights & Integrated Strategy.
About Arkansas Good Roads Foundation:
The Arkansas Good Roads/Transportation Council was established in 1975 as a 501(c)(3) non-profit, tax-exempt and tax-deductible organization. In 2015, the council was re-established as a foundation in order to be a more visible and credible voice on behalf of the mission of the Arkansas Highway Commission and the Arkansas Department of Transportation. The purpose of the foundation is to promote adequate funding and financing for the planning, development, construction, and maintenance of a safe and efficient highway, street, road, and bridge system, including transportation enhancements. The work increases statewide economic growth, private sector job creation and retention, and improves the quality of life in all Arkansas counties, municipalities, and communities.
About the Walton Family Foundation:
The Walton Family Foundation is, at its core, a family-led foundation. Three generations of the descendants of our founders, Sam and Helen Walton, and their spouses, work together to lead the foundation and create access to opportunity for people and communities. We work in three areas: improving K-12 education, protecting rivers and oceans and the communities they support, and investing in our home region of Northwest Arkansas and the Arkansas-Mississippi Delta. To learn more, visit waltonfamilyfoundation.org and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Arkansas Good Roads Foundation