Utah Fatal Bicycle Accidents
In 2016, five bicyclists in Utah lost their life on the road. They’re a part of the deadly statistics that focus on the number of people killed while commuting. The state witnessed 281 fatal accidents during the year, and bicycle-related deaths represent 1.8 percent of the total number, the Department of Public Safety Highway Safety Office reports.
Fatal Bicycle Accident Statistics
Statewide traffic fatalities (involving all types of vehicles) registered an all-time low in 2012 (217). Unfortunately, things started going downhill from there, and fatal accidents grew once again. Their number was 256 in 2014, 278 in 2015 and 281 in 2016, as mentioned in the introduction.
The number of cyclist deaths has remained more or less unchanged over the past three years with an annual average of 5.7. The good news is that the overall long-term change is a positive one and the number of cyclist deaths has been reduced by 25 percent.
A report for 2015 suggests that five bikers have lost their lives in Utah. The number represents two percent of all fatal crashes. In comparison, collisions between two motor vehicles have happened to be a lot deadlier, causing 114 fatalities in 2015.
In 2012, Utah ranked as the 17th deadliest state for cyclists in the country. The average annual cyclist deaths per one million people were 1.8. Even these statistics, however, establishes a positive trend. Fatalities have been going down from seven in 2010 to only three in 2012.
Safety Initiatives and Infrastructure Development
While bike crashes registered an absolute minimum in 2012, they have been going up since. Thus, the state has been working on the introduction of safety initiatives and on infrastructure improvements to bring the accident count down.
Educational and awareness programs are of paramount importance in Utah. Transportation department reports suggest that in 51 percent of the bicycle-related crashes that have occurred over the past few years, there were no contributing factors linked to the behavior of the cyclist. Failure to yield right of way from the motor vehicle is the primary cause of crashes.
Hit and run is the second most common occurrence as far as bikers and motorcyclists are concerned.
Utah’s Highway Safety Office is working on various programs aimed at eliminating such dangerous practices. The office promotes local initiatives through the UDOT Road Respect Community program. Communities can gain the title by carrying out awareness campaigns aimed at increasing respect and tolerance on the road.
The Utah Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan is another statewide initiative aimed at reducing the number of deaths and collisions. Based on this statewide framework, many small communities have already developed their master plans. Most of these initiatives focus on a couple of key developments that include the following:
- Education and increased awareness
- The development of a comprehensive biking and pedestrian infrastructure
- Integration of such infrastructure in community planning
- Proper maintenance of the infrastructural developments
- Integration of pedestrian and biking facilities with the transit routes in the respective community
Some of the local communities that have already adopted such master plans include Salt Lake City, Logan, Farmington, Kaysville, Cottonwood Heights, Riverton, West Valley City, Park City and Ogden.