Pedestrian and bicyclist fatalities up year-to-year in Washington

WSDOT officials say year-to-year, the number of fatal pedestrian and bicyclist incidents continue to rise, and their goal is to get that number down to zero by 2030.

According to WSDOT, 108 pedestrians were killed across the state in the year 2018. Since 2014, the numbers have gradually increased. In 2014, there was 76 pedestrians killed.

The number of fatal bicycle incidents is also rising. In 2018, there were 15 bicyclists killed across the state. That number is more than two times the number of fatal bicyclist accidents in 2014.

Combining both pedestrian and bicyclist deaths in 2018, the numbers make up 22% of all fatal traffic incidents across the state.

“We’re working on it, and we need to work on it with local partners, because obviously a lot of these crashes are on city streets, county roads and state highways,” said Barb Chamberlain, director of WSDOT's Active Transportation Division. “This is a problem for everybody."

She says the state needs to focus on driver speed in crowded areas and provide separation between cars and pedestrians and bicyclists.

Of the 2018 serious and fatal crashes:

  • 62% occurred when the pedestrian was crossing the street.
  • 65% occurred where there were no traffic controls.
  • 73% occurred on roads with a posted speed of 30 mph or higher.

For people who walk or ride to work in Seattle, they say they have experienced some close calls.

Just cars not paying attention; I need to be very alert. There are people that will turn when it’s your turn to cross. Don’t want to take the risk of getting hit or anything like that,” said Nicole Delue, who rides her skateboard through South Lake Union to work every day.

WSDOT says lawmakers recently updated a vulnerable road user law that defines safe passing, increases fines for unsafe passing, and uses the revenues to establish a vulnerable roadway user education fund.

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