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Pedestrian, bicyclist deaths in 2018 close to long-term averages

(File photo) Bicycles and motorists are meant to share the road at 42nd Street and Center Point Road in Cedar Rapids on Sunday, Apr. 3, 2016. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)
(File photo) Bicycles and motorists are meant to share the road at 42nd Street and Center Point Road in Cedar Rapids on Sunday, Apr. 3, 2016. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)

DES MOINES — Preliminary data shows 28 Iowans were killed in 2018 in traffic accidents while riding a bicycle or walking.

That’s roughly in line with similar numbers over the past decade.

There were 21 pedestrian deaths in 2018, according to the state transportation department’s preliminary data.

That continued a three-year downward trend after a 20-year high of 28 pedestrian deaths in 2015, but is roughly on par with the average of 22 pedestrian deaths per year since 2008, according to state data.

A state transportation department official has said pedestrian deaths are difficult to curtail because they typically do not happen in the same location or similar areas in the state’s road system, making it difficult to identify possible safety measures.

There were seven bicyclist fatalities in 2018, according to the state.

That’s close to the average of 6.5 bicyclist deaths per year since 1988.

Experts say distracted drivers and an increase in cyclists are contributing to the number of bicyclist deaths.

State legislators in recent years have considered requiring vehicles to move one lane over when passing a bicyclist, but proposed legislation has stalled.

l Comments: (515) 422-9061; erin.murphy@lee.net

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