On a cold and rainy Sunday afternoon, Provo residents united on World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims to advocate for safer streets and honor those who were killed by vehicles, including 15-year-old Provo resident Caleb Lane and 21-year-old UVU student Isabelle Parr.
The event began at 3 p.m. at North Park on N 500 W, near the site of the fatal crash that killed Caleb Lane in March 2018. According to Caleb Lane’s GoFundMe, Lane was struck by a car while crossing 500 N at the crosswalk of 400 W. He was taken to Utah Valley Hospital and later flown to Primary Children’s Hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Caleb Lane’s father, Jason Lane, was at the event and has become a voice for victims of traffic violence.
“The reason I am a part of this movement for families for safe streets is that there is a significant amount of violence that occurs through vehicle-pedestrian crashes,” Lane said.
According to the Utah Department of Transportation, 320 lives were lost on Utah roads in 2022, including 53 pedestrians and 15 bicyclists.
“It’s something that’s preventable and all we need to do is make an effort into the infrastructure that protects pedestrians,” Lane said.
From North Park, attendees walked to the Pioneer Park pavilion to hold a candlelight vigil for the victims and their families. At the pavilion, Utah 3rd district congressman, Rep. John Curtis, spoke about working to get federal legislation passed to help Utah walkers and bikers. Provo City Councilman George Handley also spoke at the event and advocated for more ways to help pedestrians. Isabelle Parr’s father, Matthew Parr, shared Isabella’s story and thanked Provo police for their investigation efforts to find the driver who killed Isabelle.
Zoe Breillatt, a BYU junior majoring in graphic design, said moving to Provo has helped her fall in love with walkable communities.
“I grew up in a suburb that was next to a highway that wasn’t very walkable, but since coming to Provo I’ve fallen in love with places that are walkable and bikeable,” Breillatt said.
Despite Provo’s walkability and convenient bikeways, Breillatt believes there is more to be done to make the city pedestrian-friendly.
“There are always ways we can make it better. It’s not safe for pedestrians all the time, we’ve had people get hit a lot recently,” Breillatt said.
Olivia Tueller, a junior majoring in environmental science, helps BikeWalkProvo’s social media team. For Tueller, advocating for safer roads and better walkways is more than just a college side hobby.
“I’ve always been interested in transportation and making better infrastructure for pedestrians and bikers,” Tueller said.
Tueller said it’s not impossible for improvements to happen, and we all can do a better job of protecting Provo walkers and bikers.
“I think it’s really important that we’re all here to honor those lives that have been lost and really commit to being better because we really can,” Tueller said.