Trailnet is dedicated to creating safe and accessible places for people to walk and bike. Through partnerships with federal, state, and local government, we advocate for policies, infrastructure, and funding that reflects the number of people walking and biking. Pedestrians and bicyclists make 12% of all trips, account for 14% of all fatalities, and only receive 1.6% of transportation funding.
(Source: Alliance for Biking and Walking)
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Update on Samuel Scott Case“In this case, there are no winners. There are only losers.” Those were the words the judge in court extended today (Friday, March 8, 2013) to everyone who was present for the resolution of the Sam Scott case. He also said this case was a sad example of what can happen when someone drinks and drives.
Today ended the long string of postponements in the case of Emily Hagan, the intoxicated driver who hit Sam Scott while he was on his bicycle on Delmar Blvd. on the evening of February 3, 2012. Sam died shortly after. Ms. Hagan pled guilty of involuntary manslaughter and waived her right to a trial. The judge sentenced her to three years in a Missouri Correctional Center.
Sam’s mom had a few paragraphs about Sam prepared and the victim's read them aloud. Sam’s mom wanted the judge and those present to understand who Sam was, not just from her point of view but from others. She wrote about what losing Sam meant to his best friends and his beloved girl friend. She quoted a powerful letter of reference written by one of Sam’s teachers. I was left knowing the world is poorer because we lost Sam.
I don’t pretend to know whether Ms. Hagan’s sentence is “fair” or not. Would she have served more time if she had hit and killed a pedestrian or the driver of another motorized vehicle? Did having a high-powered defense attorney affect the outcome of her sentence?
Am I satisfied with the outcome? As the judge underscored, there can be no satisfaction today. Instead, there must be continued and heightened work to pass essential policies, build the best infrastructure, and educate all users how to safely share our roads. Trailnet is committed to doing just that.
I do believe the presence of bike/ped advocates in court, through the past 13 months of set and postponed court dates, made an impression in the end. I believe Susan Scott’s confidence in Trailnet sent a message that Sam’s community includes everyone who chooses for transportation an alternative to a motorized vehicle. All of us at Trailnet are deeply saddened by the loss of Sam and that no amount of grief, remorse, or punishment will change the unchangeable.
Please be an advocate for safe roads by committing to driving sober and not allowing your friends or family to drive while intoxicated or distracted. Ever. Remember Sam.
Sam was riding his bike and was hit on February 3, 2012. He died shortly after. My original blog post can be found here.
2012 Annual Advocacy Report
All Trailnet staff participates in advocacy as part of their regular job duties. Additionally, we were able to hire dedicated staff for policy and advocacy last year thanks to member contributions. Here are some highlights of our work. (For full report, please see the PDF.)
Policy Initiatives - Staff participates in federal, state, and local policy advocacy by working with our coalition partners to draft and file policy, educate policymakers, and promote initiatives to the public. The St. Louis region passed two bicycle and livability ordinances: the Bike Parking Ordinance, requiring all new construction or redevelopment over $1 million to require bicycle parking, and the Form Based Code Ordinance zoning regulations to create more walkable, bikeable communities. An Anti-Harassment ordinance was filed on National Bike to Work Day that will help protect all users of the road from violence and injury upon its passage.
Legislative Visits - Trailnet joined advocates across the country at the National Bike Summit to lobby for dedicated funding for walking and biking. Staff, members, and volunteers participated in two Missouri Capitol day events with statewide partners, and regularly met with Alderpeople and policymakers to advocate for infrastructure improvements and new programs.
Bicycle Education - Staff held Earn 2 Bikes and BikeSmart classes to teach both new and experienced riders how bike to as safely, visibly and predictably as possible. Classes include basic bike maintenance and have served 57 St. Louis area residents to date.
Partnerships - A new monthly speakers series, Trailnet on Tap, travels to different neighborhoods and features a variety of topics about walking and biking including cold weather gear, how to ride with traffic, bicycle law, multimodal travel, community coalitions, bicycle commuting, and policy initiatives. Staff also attends neighborhood association meetings by request or need to advocate for safe and accessible spaces for walkers and bikers. Trailnet participates in planning and programming for regional events like Open Streets to help create vibrant spaces for people that encourage physical activity while highlighting community assets. Our Safe Routes to School program works with six elementary schools in three districts to institutionalize walking to school. Staff participates on regional and statewide committees that allocate funding for walking and biking projects.
National Bike Month, May 2012 - Over 540 bike commuters stopped by our Breakfast for Bikers stations throughout the city and county, a 304% increase from 2005. Voluntary participation in ShiftYourCommute.com showed 20,489 transportation miles by bike, 20,079 lbs of CO2 diverted from the air, and 594,181 calories burned for the month of May.
Regional Plan for Sustainable Development (HUD-EPA-DOT grant) - Trailnet is one of 11 consortium partners working on the plan to encourage sustainable growth and development for our region. Staff participates on all of the planning, technical, and public engagement committees, advocating for increased and improved alternative transportation options for residents. The work done here will shape Sustainability and Growth Plans for twelve communities over the next several decades.