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Trailnet Enters Year 30!

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CEO Ralph Pfremmer reflects on three decades of Active Living while looking ahead

For me, the middle of January always marks the halfway point of St. Louis’ winter doldrums. I was reminded of this one recent morning, waking up to zero-degree weather, feeling the sting of windchill on my face. As I travel the streets downtown, I am warmed by the fact that I still see bicyclists braving their way to work despite the cold! They are not waiting for the spring thaw to commit to a healthy, active lifestyle.

Inside our offices, with heaters plugged in, we are off to a great start to 2018 and you can feel the energy among the team members. This year is unique! This year is so much more significant than years past. This year marks Trailnet’s 30th anniversary and there is so much to look forward to. Whether consciously or not, we all start the new year thinking about healthy resolutions. Trailnet has resolved to make the healthy choice the easy choice. We want to make it safe and comfortable to walk and bike to the places you want to go. We think the best way to celebrate 30 years of making walking and biking better in St. Louis is to make significant improvements in community connectivity now, in 2018, while setting the stage for 30 years from now!

We embark on our 30th year with the tremendous momentum that your support is giving us. Take a look at Our Impact featured in the January/February newsletter, and if you haven’t yet, join us and count yourself among the people who are taking to the streets for healthy, active living. Join the fun.

Looking back, it’s really quite remarkable what Trailnet has achieved: so many people supporting our organization and so many diverse partners ready and willing to collaborate for change. Having started as a group of recreational bicycle enthusiasts, Trailnet has grown and evolved into—among other things—a very significant regional planning and advocacy organization. It goes without saying that Trailnet now exists as an important civic organization centered on improving the way we live in St. Louis, leveraging our past while staying committed to the platform of walking, bicycling and active living for all St. Louisans.

Trailnet’s staff and board of directors invite you to attend the kickoff of our 30th anniversary at our special event on Friday, February 9. Trailnet supporters, Cindy and John Lynch, will be our hosts at their unique venue, Break Room Concerts at Show Me Cables  in Chesterfield. Seating is limited, so hurry to get your spot. Please join us as we kick off the new year and officially put an end to the winter doldrums!

So let’s look forward to having a fantastic year together. Get involved by participating in our events. Come to Beans, Bikes, and Brews on Saturday, March 10, when we announce all of our Bicycle Fun Club and Community Rides. Consider coming to one of our Peloton events. However you choose to participate, we promise you the opportunity to share your voice. We want to hear your Trailnet story. We’d like to know about how things have changed for you since Trailnet started and what your desires are for a region filled with so much promise as you enjoy a commitment to a healthy, active lifestyle.

The forecast for walking and biking is good, the weather is about to change. What better reason to challenge ourselves to renew our commitment to healthy, active living? It’s my hope that we all strengthen our commitment to ourselves and to the work that Trailnet is doing. Let’s join arm-in-arm as we propel St. Louis forward!

Crash. Not Accident.

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#CNA-VERTWord choice matters.  The words “Crash” and “Accident” are often used to describe the same event, but in reality each word conjures up very different images.  An “accident” just happens.  Accidents can’t be reasonably predicted or avoided.  A “crash,” on the other hand, is the result of choices made and risks disregarded.  Crashes don’t just happen; somebody is at fault in a crash.  

A majority of fatal road crashes are caused by intoxicated, speeding, distracted, or careless motorists.  They are NOT just unfortunate events.  The victims were NOT simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Deadly crashes in the St. Louis region this year are too numerous to list here.  They include the January crash precipitated by Hazelwood motorist William Goad, who was driving more than twice the speed limit on Gallatin Lane in Bridgeton when he struck and killed Bridgeton resident Duane Johnson, who was riding his bicycle.  That was no accident.  More recently, in September, the 18th pedestrian fatality in the City of St. Louis this year occurred when a hit and run driver sped through St. Louis’ Fairground Park on a Sunday afternoon and killed Nathaniel Thomas, 29, as he crossed the street.  That was no accident.      

Trailnet, and many other transportation advocates, want to change how we talk about traffic collisions in this country. When one motorized vehicle careens into another, or turns into an oncoming cyclist, or rounds a corner right into a pedestrian — call it a “crash,” not an “accident.”  Words matter, and the way car crashes are framed has a powerful effect on how they are perceived. If thousands of preventable traffic injuries and deaths per year are described as accidental, why bother with thorough investigations to uncover root causes and determine potential solutions?

Accident or Crash?  Our choice of words can educate the public, set accurate expectations, contribute to improved road safety, and ultimately help save lives. Changing our language is one of the first steps to realizing Vision Zero in St. Louis.