Phones Down Heads Up!
Effective October 1, 2014, using a handheld cell phone while driving in Vermont is illegal.
Each day in the United States, more than 9 people are killed and more than 1,600 are injured in crashes that are reported to involve a distracted driver, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.Distracted driving is any activity that diverts a person’s attention away from the primary task of driving. All distractions endanger the safety of drivers, passengers and bystanders, and cell phone use is the number one distraction behind the wheel.Talking on a cell phone while driving makes you four times as likely to crash, and texting while driving increases your chances of a crash by up to 23 times, according to the National Safety Council.
Know the law: 23 V.S.A. § 1095b
The ban takes effect October 1, 2014 and covers all portable electronic devices, including, music players, laptop computers, and cellular telephones.Hands-free use is permitted under the law, and hands-free means without the use of either hand and outside the immediate proximity of the user’s ear, by employing an internal feature—such as Bluetooth, for example—or as long as the device is in a cradle or otherwise securely mounted in the vehicle.Note that the ban is lifted when the driver needs to communicate with law enforcement or emergency service personnel under emergency circumstances.
Know the consequences:
What To Do:
- A person who violates this section commits a traffic violation and shall be subject to a fine of not less than $100.00 and not more than $200.00 for a first violation, and of not less than $250.00 and not more than $500.00 for a second or subsequent violation within any two-year period.
- A person convicted of violating this section while operating within a properly designated work zone in which construction, maintenance, or utility personnel are present shall have two points assessed against his or her driving record for a first conviction and five points assessed for a second or subsequent conviction.
- A person convicted of violating this section outside a work zone in which personnel are present shall not have points assessed against his or her driving record.
The safest thing to do is to not use any device while driving. If you must, we have assembled a guide to some of the acceptable hands-free technologies. Phones down. Heads up. While you're driving please keep both eyes on the road, both hands on the wheel, and put your phone down.
Thanks for Another Successful Tour de Farms!
Full sunshine and temperatures in the high 70s greeted the hundreds of bicyclists who participated in the 7th Annual Tour de Farms on September 21. The Vermont Bicycle & Pedestrian Coalition is grateful to the Tour's sponsors (listed below) who made the 2014 Tour possible. You can click on the sponsor logos below to learn more about these businesses and organizations. Please support the businesses that support the Tour!
(Click on logo to visit sponsors' websites):
2014 Walk Bike Summit a Success
Caroline Sampanaro addressing Summit attendees. (Photo: Kathy Davidow)
Attendees at the summit (Photo: Dave Cain)
An enthusiastic group of 250 attended the Walk/Bike Summit in Burlington this past Saturday. Those who journeyed to the Hilton enjoyed delicious breakfast and lunch foods, an array of 10 workshops, inspiring words from Transportation Alternatives' Caroline Sampanaro, input from a panel of VT leaders, plenty of table displays, networking opportunities, and late afternoon options to walk and bike a bit.
(If you attended the Summit, you'll soon be asked for your feedback so that future events of this kind can be made even better.)
Limited Edition Ed Koren Print
You can receive an autographed, limited edition print of the above drawing. The drawing was done for the VT Bike/Ped Coalition by Ed Koren, an artist and VBPC member. You may be familiar with Ed's work through The New Yorker magazine or perhaps through Onion River Sports in Montpelier which used Ed's characters in its promotional material for many years.
To obtain a copy of the print, simply give the gift of a VBPC membership to a friend (who is not currently a member) and notify the Coalition whether you would prefer to receive an autographed print on cream or white paper. Please check out our membership options by clicking on the green "Contribute" square to the left of this message.
Thanks for your support of the Coalition's important work.
Montpelier Awarded Bicycle-friendly Community "Bronze"
by League of American Bicyclists
Montpelier Mayor John Hollar announces that Montpelier has been awarded the bicycle-friendly community "bronze" level by the League of American Bicyclists, a national advocacy group. Recent efforts in Montpelier include organizing a bike summit and a bicycle advisory committee, installing more bike racks, finalizing details to complete the city's bike path, and obtaining funding to develop a bicycle master plan. (Photo courtesy of Anne Ferguson)
VISTAs who work for the city of Montpelier, Hannah Recklow and Alex Prolman, pose with one of the signs designating Montpelier as a bicycle-friendly community. (Photo courtesy of Gwen Hallsmith)
l to r: Nancy Schulz, Josh Wilson, and Tim Blagden (Photo courtesy of David Cain)
VT, NY, and NH Advocates Gather
The VBPC's executive director, Nancy Schulz, met recently with her counterparts in neighboring states. Josh Wilson, the executive director of the New York Bicycling Coalition, and Tim Blagden, the executive director of the Bike-Walk Alliance of New Hampshire came to Montpelier to discuss a range of issues including funding, legislative priorities, board recruitment, rails to trails, and lobbying. It was helpful to all three organizations to make this connection and to discover that we share many of the same challenges.
(The VBPC is grateful to Christopher Parker of Vermont Rail Action Network (VRAN) for permission to use the photo above.
Amtrak Releases Results of Carry-On Bike Tests
In July of 2013, Amtrak conducted a series of bicycle tests on trains in New York and Vermont. The VT Bike/Ped Coalition was asked by Amtrak to recruit bicyclists to participate in tests on the Vermonter and Ethan Allen train routes. Each volunteer bicyclist was asked to board at a particular stop with a carry-on bicycle and detrain at the next stop. Over 40 bicyclists were recruited by the VBPC to participate in these tests. Unfortunately, the Vermonter test took place during the hottest week of the summer. Multiple days of extreme heat caused a heat kink in the track, which resulted in the need for a repair crew and a four-hour delay in the train schedule. This huge delay forced many of the volunteer testers to drop out, so only a limited number of survey responses were collected on the Vermonter.
To see the summaries of what bicyclists had to say about their experiences, you can click on individual links for the Vermonter test, the Ethan Allen test, the Northeast Region test and/or the Adirondack and Niagara Falls test. The VBPC will be meeting with Amtrak officials in September to discuss the next steps to implement carry-on bicycle service in Vermont. Thanks for your support of the VBPC as we work to enhance train access for bicyclists.
Board Nominations Welcome
Bruce Lierman, President of the Board of Directors of the VT Bicycle & Pedestrian Coalition, welcomes nominations of potential board candidates. Ideal candidates are committed to advancing bike/ped advocacy and are willing to work to bring about necessary changes within Vermont. The board of directors meets quarterly and keeps in touch via email between meetings. The VBPC's goal is to have a board which includes individuals from throughout the state of Vermont who bring skills that will advance the Coaliton's mission. For more information, please contact Bruce Lierman via (802) 447-2553 or
Please help the VBPC keep the good bike/ped news coming by clicking here. All contributions are tax deductible. Thank you.
The mission of the Vermont Bicycle & Pedestrian Coalition is to promote bicycling and walking in Vermont, emphasizing access, safety, and education. The VBPC is a member-supported organization. Please join us, and share the word!