There were 27 fatal bicycling accidents in Connecticut between 2005 and 2010, and the total number of biking-related crashes around the state during that five-year span was 4,276, the Hartford Advocate is reporting, citing official state data. State officials also report that between 2005 and 2009, there were about 5,300 pedestrian-related traffic accidents in Connecticut The Tri-State Transportation Campaign recently issued an analysis of pedestrian accidents in Connecticut between 2008 and 2010 that showed there were 121 pedestrian deaths in that time frame.
The state’s Department of Transportation is beginning to respond. The DOT announced recently that a 2.75-mile stretch of Burnside Avenue in East Hartford (part of Route 44), between Main and Mary Streets, will be redesigned to reduce the number of travel lanes for vehicles and to install bike lanes. Much attention has been paid to the section of roadway following a series of fatal bicycle-car collisions that took the lives of three East Hartford cyclists during the past two years. The Hartford Courant has reported that the DOT considers the plan the first of its kind in the state – a state road redesign aimed at improving bicyclist and pedestrian safety.
Earlier this year, Bicycling and Walking in the United States: 2012 Benchmarking Report, produced by the Alliance for Biking & Walking, ranked all 50 states (and the 51 largest U.S. cities) on bicycling and walking levels, safety, funding, and other factors. Connecticut ranked #26 among the states in levels of bicycling and walking. In fatalities, the state ranked #24. Among the reports noteworthy statistics:
- Seniors are the most vulnerable bicyclists and pedestrians. Adults over 65 make up 10% of walking trips, yet comprise 19% of pedestrian fatalities. This age group accounts for 6% of bicycling trips, yet 10% of bicyclist fatalities.
- Bicycling and walking projects create 11-14 jobs per $1 million spent, compared to just 7 jobs created per $1 million spent on highway projects. Cost benefit analysis show that up to $11.80 in benefits can be gained for every $1 invested in bicycling and walking.
- While bicycling and walking fell 66% between 1960 and 2009, obesity levels increased 156%.
- On average, the largest 51 U.S. cities show a 29% increase in bicycle facilities since the 2010 report.
All of which underscores the need to improve bicycling safety, as biking becomes more popular across the country.