After an unprecedented number of Iowa kids on bikes were hit by cars and killed during 2017, a conference today will zero in on “Vision Zero,” an effort to eliminate all such deaths statewide.

Troy Carter, director of Iowa Safe Routes to School, says the annual meeting is gathering community leaders, researchers, teachers, parents and law enforcement.

“Last year in the state of Iowa, we unfortunately had five children under the age of 18 that were killed on our roads on their bicycles,” Carter says. “So, we are focusing on bicycle safety education. We have developed a curriculum along with the Department of Transportation that we distribute.”

In a typical year, two or three children may be killed statewide in bike/car accidents. In addition, 11 adult cyclists were killed by vehicles in Iowa last year, also an increase from the average of around seven. The day-long conference will feature representatives from the Iowa Governor’s Traffic Safety Bureau, the University of Iowa Injury Prevention Group and the Healthiest State Initiative. Carter says they’re united for a purpose.

Carter says, “The Governor’s Traffic Safety Bureau has put forth, along with the Department of Transportation, a goal of Vision Zero, for zero fatalities on Iowa’s roads.” Iowa Safe Routes to School is a division of the Coralville-based Iowa Bicycle Coalition. Carter has run Safe Routes since 2015.

“We do bicycle safety and pedestrian education all across the state of Iowa,” Carter says. “We are awarded a grant from the DOT to set up walking school buses, do community workshops and things along those lines that pertain to children under the age of 12.”

The conference runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Des Moines Area Metropolitan Planning Organization.