Vermont Fatal Bicycle Accidents
In 2015, Vermont saw an increase in the number of cyclists killed on the road. As a result of this negative trend, the state has been prompted to carry out a number of safety and awareness initiatives aimed at bringing fatalities down to a minimum.
Fatal Bicycle Accident Statistics
Vermont Highway Safety Alliance reports do suggest that cycling fatalities have been going up in the state. From 2005 to 2009, there were zero bike-related fatalities. One cyclist lost their life in 2010. From 2011 to 2014, the positive trend of zero fatalities remained constant. Unfortunately, the number of deaths went up to four in 2015.
Cyclist injuries, however, have gone down. The number was highest in 2006 when 89 cyclists were injured. Here’s how things have been progressing since then – 75 in 2007, 88 in 2008, 83 in 2009, 77 in 2010, 84 in 2011, 86 in 2012, 85 in 2013, 63 in 2014 and finally – 72 in 2015.
Regardless of these numbers, Vermont ranks as one of the safest states for cyclists in the US. It occupies the 50th position in a ranking of the deadliest states for cyclists, and only Maine is a better performer. The average annual deaths per one million people in Vermont are set at 0.5.
The increase in cyclist deaths over 2015 is seen as a part of an overall negative trend that has been affecting Vermont traffic safety since then. According to a 2016 report presented in The Standard, motor vehicle deaths in the state reached their highest level for the past nine years.
Sixty-four people died on the road in 2016 – an increase of 12 percent on an annual basis and of the staggering 45 percent since 2014. A few of the most common problems that have contributed to these deadly crashes (and that could have led to the increase in cyclist deaths, as well) include dangerous driving behaviors among millennials on the road, speeding, texting and running red lights.
Safety Initiatives and Infrastructure Improvement
In an attempt to maximize the safety of bicyclists, the Vermont Agency of Transportation has developed various initiatives over the past few years. The Bicycle and Pedestrian Grant Program, for example, has been ongoing since 2016.
The program aims to provide funding for facilities that have a transportation purpose open for public use. In 2016, funds were awarded to an array of projects including the following:
- The development of sidewalks and bike lanes in the town of Hartford (208,000 dollars provided through the fund, plus local funding of 52,000 dollars made available)
- Construction of sidewalks and green strips in Fair Haven, as well as curb elimination for enhanced mobility for pedestrians and bicyclists (project estimated at 437,500 dollars)
- Setting up of 3,830 linear feet of sidewalk in Milton – the largest project that received 850,000-dollars’ worth of grant funding (total value of the project estimated at slightly over 1.06 million dollars)
Other entities are also getting involved in establishing safe practices and maximizing awareness. The Vermont Bicycle and Pedestrian Coalition has been engaged in such educational activities for multiple years.
According to the League of American Bicyclists, Vermont is one of the states that have gotten the highest mark for safety and awareness initiatives. Legislation and enforcement programs have also gotten a good grade. The one thing that the league has criticized is the access to funds for the execution of innovative infrastructure projects.