Road User Safety

three people on walking path, including a child, man in a wheelchair and woman, holding hands

New grant opportunity: The Safe Routes to Parks Activating Communities grant program provides technical assistance and awards $12,500 to communities to implement action plans. Applications due December 16. 

New report: The Law Enforcement and Vulnerable Road Users Survey Report looks at attitudes and barriers among law enforcement in Vermont related to road safety for vulnerable road users, such as people walking and biking. 

New data briefs: Pedestrian Injuries and Bicycle-Related Injuries using hospital discharge data from 2017

Join in on the benefits of active transportation this school year! Find more information through your local Safe Routes to School and Way to Go! to School programs. Review this Back to School Safety Checklist with your family—even if you don’t have school-aged children there is helpful information for people who drive. Remember to slow down and share the road.

As it begins to get darker earlier, remember to slow down while driving. Lower travel speeds allow you more time to react and come to a stop when you have a limited sight distance. Remember to pack a flashlight when walking at night (use the one on your phone if you forget) and add reflective gear to your coat, shoes and bag so that you can always be seen. 

Review and share this Parking Lot Safety poster with data and tips for people walking and driving. In Vermont, crashes in parking lots account for almost one in five of all pedestrian-involved crashes. Keep this in mind when entering and exiting a vehicle. 

Background Information

Injuries, including motor vehicle crashes, are a top contributor to preventable deaths each year nationwide and in Vermont. Vermont’s age-adjusted injury rate is higher than the national average in recent Vermont Vital Statistics data for 2013 and 2014. In Vermont, motor vehicle crashes are the second leading cause of death from injury-related causes, after falls.

Pedestrian and Bicycle

  • 6,283 pedestrians were killed in traffic crashes in the US in 2018, representing 17% of all traffic fatalities. This is the highest number of pedestrian fatalities since 1990.
  • From 2012-2016 there were 29 pedestrian fatalities in Vermont.
  • In 2016, Vermont had a rate of 2.41 pedestrian fatalities per 100,000 population, which is the 11th highest in the nation.
  • From 2012-2016, there were 5 cyclist fatalities in Vermont.
  • Not all injuries result in death, and from 2010-2014, an average of 193 pedestrians and an average of 72 bicyclists were hospitalized or visited Vermont emergency departments each year as the result of being struck by a motor vehicle. Emergency Medical Services (EMS) data from 2014-2016 showed that 302 injuries to Vermont resident pedestrians and 505 injuries to Vermont resident cyclists resulted in an EMS call.

Active transportation, such as walking and biking, and public transportation can improve health through increased physical activity levels and reduced environmental impacts. Communities designed for the safety of vulnerable road users, especially people walking, biking, and using public transport, will be safer for all users.

Data

The National Highway Traffic Safety Adminstration (NHTSA) released fatality data for 2018. Pedestrian and bicycle fatal crashes are up, while other roadway deaths are down. 

Vermont Data Briefs 

Vermont BRFSS Data Briefs

Vermont adults who do not feel safe while walking are less likely to meet physical activity guidelines
  • Physical Activity: "People who consider their own community unsafe for walking are less likely to do enough physical activity than those who consider their community safe for walking (47% vs. 60%)." (2011 data)
  • Seatbelts (2011 data)

National Pedestrian Data (2017 data) 

National Cyclist Data (2017 data)

Vermont Public Crash Data Query Tool

National Transportation Safety Board's Pedestrian Safety Special Investigative Report

What can I do to make my community a safer place to walk?

Check the Vermont Public Crash Data Query Tool to assess road safety in your community.

Learn and obey the laws that apply to driving, walking and biking, and teach them to children.

Attend community events and meetings to voice your opinion on how to improve walking infrastructure and pedestrian safety. Discuss pedestrian safety issues with neighbors, law enforcement officers, political candidates and elected officials.

Build awareness and support for safe driving speeds within your community. Help organize a block party, safety campaign, walk audit or a pop-up event to raise awareness of safety issues on our roads and promote action. 

Report issues with sidewalks, crosswalks, lighting, bus stops or other walking infrastructure. Not sure who to contact? Check out some options below!

 

Who Can Help?

*Remember to contact your local police department first in an emergency*

 

AARP Walk Audit Tool Kit 

A Resident’s Guide for Creating Safer Communities for Walking and Biking

Neighborhood Wayfinding Assessment

Safe Kids Worldwide Take Action Toolkit: How to Fix an Unsafe School Zone

Safe Transportation for Every Pedestrian (STEP)

Traffic Operations FAQ (includes questions like 'How do I get a crosswalk?' and 'How are speed limits set?')

Vermont Programs and Grants

AARP Community Action Grants

Better Connections Program

Bicycle and Pedestrian Program

Municipal Planning Grant Program

Vermont State Highway Safety Office - Behavioral Safety Unit

Vermont Highway Safety Alliance

Vermont Safe Routes to School Program

 

Current funding opportunities:

The Go! Vermont Local Community Assistance Program offers $500 grants to volunteer groups to promote, enhance and enable efficient transportation in their communities. 
 
America Walks 2019 Community Change Grants provide a $1,500 stipends for projects related to creating healthy, active, and engaged places to live, work, and play. Applications due November 8. 
 
Vermont Natural Resources Council Small Grants for Smart Growth provide $500 to $1,500 for community-based, smart growth projects. Applications accepted on rolling basis.
 
The Safe Routes to Parks Activating Communities grant program provides technical assistance and awards $12,500 to communities to implement action plans. Applications due December 16.