File photo.

The Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services has been awarded a $150,000 grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) to offer bicycle and pedestrian safety workshops between January and September of next year, the city announced this week.

“We look forward to using this funding in support of our ongoing commitment to keeping roadways safe and improving quality of life for residents and visitors,” said Mayor Robert Garcia in a statement.

While the number of persons killed and injured in traffic collisions dropped between 2006 and 2010, the number has been slowly rising in California, according to the release. Recent increases in pedestrian and bicycle fatalities should not go unaddressed, the city stated in a release. 

“Walking and bicycling outside are great forms of exercise and transportation, supporting wellness in our communities,” said Department of Health and Human Services Director, Kelly Colopy, in a statement. “This OTS grant will allow us to train community members to be safe while they’re enjoying these activities.”

The funding will go toward providing free bicycle safety workshops to community members residing in high collision areas in an effort to decrease bicycle and pedestrian injuries and fatalities, as was stated in the release.

Health and Human Services will also facilitate walking workshops where residents will be able to give their input on how they think their neighborhoods could be made safer for walking. The grant will also be used to fund bicycle safety teen academies and bicycle safety workshops.

“Overall, California’s roadways are among the safest in the nation,” said OTS Director Rhonda Craft in a statement. “But to meet future mobility, safety, and accessible transportation objectives, we have to reverse this recent trend in order to reach our common goal—zero deaths on our roadways. The Office of Traffic Safety and the City of Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services want to work with everyone to create a culture of traffic safety across Long Beach and the state.”

Funding for these programs is from the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Asia Morris is a Long Beach native covering arts and culture for the Long Beach Post. You can reach her @hugelandmass on Twitter and Instagram and at [email protected].