Utah groups advocate for safer roads, honor pedestrians hit and killed
Nov 20, 2023, 6:22 AM | Updated: Nov 21, 2023, 10:46 am
PROVO — Dozens of people gathered together for a special candlelight vigil Sunday in honor of World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims.
The Utah Chapter of Families for Safe Streets along with another group, Bike Walk Provo, hosted the event to remember pedestrians who have lost their lives and advocated for safer infrastructure.
“The purpose is to make people aware of these types of incidents and then gather the community together to create ways that we can prevent them in the future,” said Christine Frandsen, executive director of Bike Walk Provo and co-organizer of the event.
“Something needs to be done”
The event started at North Park in Provo near the site of crash that took the life of 15-year-old Caleb Lane in 2018. His father, Jason, spoke in front a group of people recalling what happened to his son. Caleb was on his way to visit friends in that area. Jason said his son was hit by a driver who didn’t see him and was thrown at least 15 feet.
“I only wish that I could have held him there in his last moments,” Jason said. “The only power that I have now is to communicate to you all that something needs to be done to ensure that everyone who uses our streets is dignified.”
The father of 21-year-old Isabelle Parr, Matthew Parr, spoke on behalf of his daughter who died in a hit-and-run crash in December of 2022. Isabelle was a student at Utah Valley University and was struck while out for a jog. The driver still has not been arrested.
“Stories like Isabelle’s and Caleb’s, they don’t need to happen,” he said. “As we work to improve our infrastructure, these things can be prevented.”
Dozens walked from the site of Caleb’s crash to the site of another near City Hall that took the life of a 43-year-old man in late October.
There, the group began the vigil where Lane, Parr and others advocated for all pedestrians and cyclists. Local politicians including Rep. John Curtis, R-Utah, and Provo City Councilman George Handley were in attendance.
According to the Utah Department of Transportation, 24 pedestrians and nine bicyclists have been killed so far this year.
“We need to just see each other as human,” Frandsen said. “We need to acknowledge that we all have a story and the reason you’re using the street may be different than how I am but that there’s value in our lives and we need to take care of each other.”
To learn more about Families for Safe Streets, click here
If you would like to participate in the local chapter, visit the Bike Walk Provo website and fill out the volunteer sign-up sheet on the home page.