Motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of injury in Vermont. People walking, biking and rolling are more vulnerable to injuries and death from vehicles when using our roadways. These injuries and deaths are preventable.
The Health Department works collaboratively with community partners, health care providers, law enforcement, schools, local municipalities, and individuals to build towards a culture that prioritizes safe and accessible transportation for all people- regardless of mode, age, and ability.
Safe Routes & Safe Streets
- The Watch For Me VT program seeks to reduce injuries and deaths on Vermont roadways, specifically among people who walk and bike. Using education and enforcement, we can work together to improve the safety of our Vermont communities.
- Find more information on active transportation 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.
Many Vermont communities do not feel safe for walking or biking on their roads, often due to a combination of factors such as high vehicle travel speeds, absent or damaged sidewalks and crosswalks, and risk of crime. In 2017, nine percent of Vermont adults felt their community was not at all safe or slightly safe to walk in, with Vermont adults living with disabilities more than three times as likely to feel that their community was unsafe for walking.
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.
Improving pedestrian safety in Vermont requires a community effort: state and local governments can work together to protect community members while traveling, maintain existing sidewalks, and strategize about infrastructure changes to maximize community benefit; law enforcement officials can enforce laws designed to keep people safe as they move through their communities; media can cover stories around our transportation system and use language that does not inadvertently assign blame to victims, and individuals can follow the rules of the road and respect the safety of their neighbors.
Creating safe walking infrastructure is an equity issue. Across the U.S., older adults, people living in rural areas, people with disabilities, African Americans, Indigenous people, and people walking in low-income communities continue to be disproportionately represented in injuries amd fatal crashes with drivers and people walking.
People of color, especially Black or African American, and American Indian or Alaska Native people, continue to die while walking at higher rates compared to White, Non-Hispanic, Hispanic, Asian, and Pacific Islander people (Smart Growth America, 2021).
In Vermont, from 2011-2020, 51% of pedestrians killed on our roadways were over 60 years old (Vermont Agency of Transportation Data).
Vermont Public Crash Data Query Tool - Vermont Agency of Transportation
Vermont Data Briefs - Vermont Department of Health
- Pedestrian Injuries (2017 data)
- Bicycle-related Injuries (2017 data)
- Pedestrian Injuries (2014-2016 data)
- Bicycle-related Injuries (2014-2016 data)
- Unrestrained Vehicle Occupants (2014-2016 data)
Vermont BRFSS Data Briefs
- 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)
Who Can Help?
- Public Works Departments
- Regional Planning Contacts
- VTrans District Contacts (for state-controlled routes)
- SeeClickFix (available in limited areas)
- Safe Routes to School and Way to Go! Regional Experts
- Local Motion Community Sign Up and Suggestion Box
*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?')
- Complete Streets: A Guide for Vermont communities
- Governor’s Highway Safety Program Reports and Data (includes Driver Attitude Survey)
- Health Impact Assessments
- Law Enforcement and Vulnerable Road Users Survey Report
- Pedestrian Safety and Vulnerable Road User Toolkit
- Vermont Pedestrian and Bicycle Policy Plan
- VTrans On-Road Bicycle Plan
- Go! Vermont and Way to Go! to School
- Local Motion
- Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center
- Safe Kids Vermont
- Safe Routes to School (National)
- Safe Routes to School (VT)
- Safe Streets Vermont
- Watch For Me VT