One of the sad things we have to admit is that the accidents/injuries
per mile of travel for walkers and bicyclists is higher than for those in
motor vehicles. About 8 percent of Vermont deaths are
bicyclists/pedestrians--the percentage of nonmotorized fatalities has been
going up as there has been increase in road safety, mostly from people
wearing seatbelts (safety on the interstate went way down, relatively to
other roads, with the imposition of the 65 mph limit).
Clearly, creating low speed environments in downtowns, village
centers, and residential areas creates increased safety for the nonmotorized.
Creating carfree space is the ideal as are appropriate, sensible grade
separated facilities. Roundabouts should be used at all intersections for
purposes of speed management and pedestrian safety. Education, engineering
and enforcement (when was the last time a driver was given a ticket for
failing to give the right-of-way to a pedestrian!!) are key. There is a
"road safety audit" (from Australia and New Zealand) that can be performed
on all existing and new highways--we can insist that these audits be done and
safety issues related to nonmotorized be identified and addressed.