‘Our work is not done yet’: City leaders remember traffic accident victims ahead of World Day of Remembrance

MADISON, Wis. — City leaders and traffic safety advocates gathered Tuesday to remember those who have been killed in traffic accidents around the city.

So far this year, 11 people have died in traffic accidents on Madison’s roadways. In total, 57 people have died in similar incidents over the past five years. While fatal and serious injury crashes are down 21% through the first three quarters of 2022 compared to 2021, Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway said there’s still more work to do.

“That means that what we’re doing is working, but it’s not enough yet. Our work is not done yet, because this year, three people that were biking, one person that was walking and seven people that were traveling in motor vehicles were killed on our streets,” Rhodes-Conway said. “That’s too many people.”

Rhodes-Conway’s remarks came less than a week before World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims, which is on Sunday. Throughout the course of her first term, Rhodes-Conway has made road safety a top priority of hers by implementing the Vision Zero program and allocating resources to the Bus Rapid Transit project that — she hopes — will lessen the need for cars on Madison’s streets.

Rhodes-Conway’s 2023 plans to transform the city’s streets include implementing the first phase of BRT and 20 mph speed limits on neighborhood streets around the city.

Those measures, in addition to expanding access to safe bike paths and sidewalks for bikers and pedestrians, are supported by local bike advocates like Madison Bikes President Harold Kliems.

During his remarks, Kliems recalled the names of three bicyclists killed in traffic accidents this year — Taylor Dunn, Will Cummings and Tom Heninger — as a reminder of their ties to the Madison community. All three men were biking on Madison streets when they died after drivers hit them with their vehicles.

“Each time somebody is killed while biking walking or driving, they leave behind great loss for their family, their friends, their community and for our city,” Kliems said. “That loss puts an obligation to us, an obligation of remembrance to remember Taylor, Will, Tom and all the others who died in traffic crashes. And also an obligation to do everything in our power to prevent future deaths.”