Cyclists & Pedestrians

Cyclists & Pedestrians

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

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

Background Information

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).

Data

National Data

The National Center for Statistics and Analysis (NCSA), an office of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, provides a wide range of analytical and statistical support to NHTSA and the highway safety community. Learn more about all of NHTSA's available data.
 
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently reported that 31,720 people were killed on U.S. roadways in the first nine months of 2021, a record 12% increase from the same period last year. This is the most people killed on our roadways through the first nine months of any year since 2006, and the largest nine-month percentage increase ever in the nearly 50-year history of the Fatality Analysis System Roadway deaths rose in most states, including Vermont, which has a ten-year high in 2021. 

Vermont Data

Vermont Public Crash Data Query Tool - Vermont Agency of Transportation

Vermont Data Briefs - Vermont Department of Health

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)
Community Safety Advocate Resources

Who Can Help?

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

Advocate Resources