Kern County looks to increase bicycle, pedestrian safety

A crosswalk sign in Bakersfield, Calif., is seen in a KBAK/KBFX file photo.

Saturday, Bakersfield saw another fatal accident involving a bicyclist and a car.

According to the Bakersfield Police Department, there have been more fatal collisions this year than last.

Sgt. Gary Carruesco said so far this year there have been 37 total fatal collisions, 13 of those have involved a vehicle and either a pedestrian or a bicyclist.

In 2015, there were 34 fatal collisions in total.

The grant given to Kern County is for $25,000, and was awarded by the California Office of Traffic Safety.

Kern County Public Health Services said it will use the grant money for programming that will educate people on pedestrian and bicycle safety.

"We were provided with a curriculum that we will be teaching," said Brynn Carrigan, assistant director of Kern County Public Health. "We are really targeting a lot towards youth and seniors, but it is applicable to everybody, and it's just on being a safe pedestrian or a safe bicyclist."

Carrigan said the educational programs will go into effect as soon as December.

"We're going to teach awareness, always being aware, being alert, not being distracted when we are walking on a busy street, when you're riding your bike, while you're driving," Carrigan said. "Awareness is the key component to stopping this from occurring."

The grant money will also be used to reach out to people using social media and billboards.

Monday, the Bakersfield Police Department also received a $28,300 grant for bicyclist and pedestrian safety efforts.

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