Safety first



To the Editor:

Recent Maine Department of Transportation (MDOT) data shows that 14 bicyclists and pedestrians were killed in Maine in 2014. Of these fatalities, 12 were pedestrians and two were killed while riding bicycles. Additionally, half of the victims were either seniors or under the age of 18.

As the state’s leading organization promoting bicycling and walking safety, the Bicycle Coalition of Maine routinely monitors crash reports for incidents that involve bicyclists or pedestrians.

In addition to the most recent 2014 data, MDOT recently released a detailed analysis of crash data from 2009-2013. The report shows a clear need for increased safety for bicyclists and pedestrians. Highlights of the report include:

Over 34 percent of pedestrian crashes and over 37 percent of bicycle crashes took place between from 3-7 p.m.

Over 70 percent of crashes took place in clear weather with dry road conditions.

Crashes involving bicycles were more than five times more likely to occur during daylight hours.

Males were over three times more likely to be involved in a bicycle crash than females.

The Bicycle Coalition of Maine works with partners like the MDOT to use this data to shape more effective policies, programming and infrastructure projects. By tracking all crashes involving bicyclists, pedestrians, other vulnerable users and motor vehicles, the coalition is working to improve the safety of everyone on the road.

The death of any bicyclist or pedestrian is cause for alarm. We will continue to work to make our roads safer for users of all types, striving for a day when we can report zero fatalities.

The most recent fatality occurred in Glenburn on Dec. 14 when a pedestrian was killed while crossing the street to retrieve her mail. This incident is a reminder for all motorists to be alert for other users at all times and places, to obey local speed limits and never to drive distracted or under the influence of alcohol or other drugs. It also highlights the need for walkers and bicyclists to use extra care to be visible and to follow best practices and laws for roadway safety.

The Bicycle Coalition of Maine will continue to monitor the circumstances surrounding all cases in which bicyclists or pedestrians are killed, searching for information and solutions that will improve safety on the road for anyone traveling on foot, on a bike and in a vehicle.

Nancy Grant

Executive Director

Bicycle Coalition of Maine

Augusta

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