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Today CDOT’S Fred Estrian Takes to Denver’s Streets to Help Pedestrians Stay Safe

September 20, 2016 - Traffic Safety - Iconic ‘walk signal man’ uses humor to engage with the public about pedestrian safety

 

DENVER – Fred Estrian, the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT)’s new pedestrian champion, takes to the streets today to educate pedestrians and drivers alike on the importance of pedestrian safety. Fred will be found at commuter hubs and high-traffic intersections near Union Station and the State Capitol.  

Over the next two weeks Fred will appear at 10 intersections across Denver spreading his safety messages. This includes busy intersections with heavy pedestrian traffic near sporting events, public schools and downtown office buildings.

Fred found humble beginnings inside the crosswalk signal box. After breaking free of his caged existence, CDOT created 15 and 30-second animated shorts that highlighted Fred’s escape coupled with safety messaging. Now, with a bigger-than-life personality and the best interests of Colorado’s pedestrians in mind, Fred is engaging one-on-one with the public to spread his life-saving messages.

“Pedestrians are our most vulnerable road users.  Often it’s difficult to engage the public in a campaign to raise awareness about their safety, but with a character like Fred people are listening and engaging with us,” says Sam Cole, Traffic Safety Communications Manager with CDOT. “Fred’s appearance on social media and in-person is generating a lot of buzz about a serious safety issue.”

In 2015, there were 1,330 pedestrian crashes resulting in 59 pedestrian fatalities. Because 72% of those pedestrian crashes occurred at non-intersections, CDOT’s new campaign promotes cross-walks and the importance of staying alert to traffic while crossing the street.  The campaign is also aimed at drivers. Social media posts, targeted videos– and even Fred himself – will remind drivers to always yield to pedestrians, stay off their phones, and obey pedestrian safety laws.

The campaign also includes stencil art at crosswalks, intersections and transitional areas like parking garages. The water-soluble stencil art relates key statistics and safety tips to pedestrians and drivers across metro Denver.

Pedestrian fatalities and crashes are a growing concern in Colorado, particularly at non-intersections. The campaign aims to promote the importance of crosswalks, urging drivers to be alert when approaching a crosswalk and encouraging pedestrians to only use crosswalks when crossing the street.

The videos are available for download at bit.ly/CDOTPedSafety.  For more information about the campaign, visit www.facebook.com/coloradodot. For pedestrian laws and safety tips, visit

https://www.codot.gov/programs/bikeped/information-for-pedestrians.

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