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Old 03-21-05, 02:28 PM   #1
billh
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This is the weekly transpo column in the local St Louis paper. Scroll down to the second question that refers to a federal study that came out last Oct noting a drop in cyclist fatalities and injuries, along with a rise in cyclist trips. Anyone have a link to this study? Sounds like good news.

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Old 03-21-05, 02:35 PM   #2
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http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/bikeped/study/
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Old 03-21-05, 03:07 PM   #3
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So looking at and isolating a couple key points in the study

It appears as though cycling fatilities have decreased:
Quote:
Originally Posted by National_Bicycling_and_Walking_Study
"Bicyclists and pedestrians represented more than 16 percent of all traffic fatalities in 1993, and then dropped to 12.3 percent in 2003. At the same time there was an increase in overall traffic fatalities of more than seven percent. The declines between 1993 and 2003 in pedestrian fatalities (17.3%), pedestrian injuries (27.7%), bicyclist fatalities (23.3%), and bicyclist injuries (35.3%) have exceeded the target set by the National Bicycling and Walking Study."
While the total number of trips increased:
Quote:
Originally Posted by National_Bicycling_and_Walking_Study
"The National Bicycling and Walking Study (NBWS) established the target of doubling the percentage of trips made by bicycling and walking from 7.9 percent to 15.8 percent. In 1990, a total of 18 billion walking trips and 1.7 billion bicycling trips were reported representing 7.2 percent and 0.7 percent respectively of all trips counted by the study. In 2001, the total number of reported walking and bicycling trips nearly doubled to 38.6 billion, although it was only 9.5 percent of all reported trips."
And spending for facilities went up:
Quote:
Originally Posted by National_Bicycling_and_Walking_Study
"Increased Funding for Bicycling and Walking Projects. While the most significant recent increases in funding for bicycling and walking projects occurred with the enactment of ISTEA in 1991 and TEA-21 in 1998, actions taken by the Department in response to the Federal Action Plan, such as the issuance of the "Design Guidance" language [11] in 2000, contribute to continuing record levels of spending on bicycling and walking initiatives across all the various funding categories administered by the Department. In addition, with more information and technical resources available about pedestrian and bicycle facilities and programs, States and local governments are increasingly using their own funds for projects and programs benefiting bicyclists and pedestrians."
Is it possible I have misread this? Of course it is a government document and probably written to tell me exactly what I want to see...
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Old 03-21-05, 03:37 PM   #4
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I read it as good news also. I've only been back on the bike for a couple years now, so I am certainly part of the increased trip count without adding to the injury count.
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Old 03-21-05, 07:49 PM   #5
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You mean that we actually have facts to talk about? Not just quotes and links to editorials? I haven't studied everything that closely, but at first glance, it seems (italics added for nuance) that there might be a statistical correlation between biking facilities and cycling trips! I also get the impression (more italics, more nuance) that when the number of biking facilities goes up, the number of biking fatalities goes down! <GASP> Say it isn't so! (sarcasm here).

Can't believe anything the damn government tells ya (here). Anyway, statistics are misleading (and here).
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Old 03-21-05, 08:20 PM   #6
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I though the number of cyclists killled each year remained the same. The only reason why there was a decrease in fatalities from the early 70's is due to the bike boom. Now that the boom is over, the same number of cyclists are killed each year.
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Old 03-21-05, 08:36 PM   #7
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I guess that bike lane in Boston that was painted inches from car parking had nothing to do with the death of that female cyclist that was crushed by a bus after bouncing off a car door. If that's what government spending has to offer, screw statistics. I wonder if her death prompted the government to remove that bike lane?

Sorry. I don't mean any disrespect to anyone here. I just don't trust the government when it concerns bicycle safety.
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Old 03-21-05, 09:03 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LittleBigMan
I guess that bike lane in Boston that was painted inches from car parking had nothing to do with the death of that female cyclist that was crushed by a bus after bouncing off a car door. If that's what government spending has to offer, screw statistics. I wonder if her death prompted the government to remove that bike lane?

Sorry. I don't mean any disrespect to anyone here. I just don't trust the government when it concerns bicycle safety.

Well, I can testify that they didn't include me in their numbers, which are composed of the "reported" trips. I never reported any of mine.
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Old 03-22-05, 12:44 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by genec
Of course it is a government document ...
That Ten-Year Status Report is based on twenty-four bike/ped studies from over a decade ago. Here's a quote from a review of the original studies:
Quote:
Most of the studies have been done by people who obviously don't know cycling transportation engineering and are totally ignorant of controversies that have been debated for years. The amount of new knowledge is minute, and merely confirms facts that we already knew but the government ignores. In many cases the recommendations, if carried out, would do great harm to cyclists...
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Old 03-22-05, 02:43 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bwileyr
That Ten-Year Status Report is based on twenty-four bike/ped studies from over a decade ago. Here's a quote from a review of the original studies
Most of the studies have been done by people who obviously don't know cycling transportation engineering and are totally ignorant of controversies that have been debated for years. The amount of new knowledge is minute, and merely confirms facts that we already knew but the government ignores. In many cases the recommendations, if carried out, would do great harm to cyclists...
:
BTW I love the way you put things in quotes so they cannot be later quoted with a quick click.

The above statement is from John Forester, and was written in 1994 with reference to the 1994 report. The latest report was written in 2004, and has had data updated over the last 5 year period.

Perhaps it is time for John Forester to update his data from 1976 that he twisted to fit his theories. They are after all theories, no one has yet proven that a Bike Lane causes more cycle/auto accidents to occur then might occur without said lanes, and oddly enough, many cyclists enjoy bike lanes... why our own "little less than scientific" study on Bike Forums even showed a preference for bike lanes
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Old 03-22-05, 09:51 AM   #11
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I've read just one Forrester review of a NHTSA study that concluded that the investigators couldn't tell whether BL or WOL were safer. It seemed to me that he was making valid criticisms of the study, eg. the sample of streets was biased in favor of one or the other facility, but then concluded that the possible bias totally invalidated the study. It seemed like his review was more biased than the study.
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Old 03-22-05, 09:57 AM   #12
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It is virtually impossible to perform any true scientific analysis on this subject. Any study done is always going to have some underlying bias.
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Old 03-22-05, 12:34 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by billh
I've read just one Forrester review of a NHTSA study that concluded that the investigators couldn't tell whether BL or WOL were safer. It seemed to me that he was making valid criticisms of the study, eg. the sample of streets was biased in favor of one or the other facility, but then concluded that the possible bias totally invalidated the study. It seemed like his review was more biased than the study.
His review of the study was done in 1994... ten years before this recent study was released.

The recent study seems to indicate that increased spending on facilities has yielded more cycling trips and fewer accidents. Can anyone point to data showing otherwise? Any other recent studies? Anyone?
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Old 03-22-05, 12:46 PM   #14
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Where do I go to report my bicycle trips? Is there an internet web site or a phone number? They haven't been counting mine, at least as far as I know. (Perhaps they have one of those spy satellites aimed at my home)

Hey, I went to the store on my bike 3 days ago. Do they know about that?
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Old 03-22-05, 01:23 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nick burns
It is virtually impossible to perform any true scientific analysis on this subject. Any study done is always going to have some underlying bias.
No doubt true... as is the case in almost any study... those funding the study are usually looking for conclusions. In the case of some "studies" used, the data are often twisted... such as the typical auto commercial: "best in it's class." Of course the "class" is "American made autos under $20,000 that get 26 mpg and have built-in CD players," or some other silly nonsense.

On one hand we have the EC proponents that use John Forester's thoughts and opinions as gospel, and expound loudly about the "sins" of Bike Lanes. On the other hand we have cyclists that seem to enjoy Bike Lanes and cannot understand why anyone would want to get rid of them. But nobody has unbiased data on whether bike lanes are actually good or bad... However, we do know that the general striping on the roadway does help smooth the flow of all traffic... otherwise striping in general would be removed. This alone seems to support some sort of striping of lane on the roadways... be it the present system of BL and dashed lines or simply all dashed lines of various widths. (the latter a new concept that may resolve all conflicts.)

Only time will tell, as improvements in the facilities do take both time to implement and for acclimation by the public, therefore older studies, such as Forester's 1976 data, reflect only what was in use at the time and quite possibly are no longer valid.
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Old 03-22-05, 01:25 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DnvrFox
Where do I go to report my bicycle trips? Is there an internet web site or a phone number? They haven't been counting mine, at least as far as I know. (Perhaps they have one of those spy satellites aimed at my home)

Hey, I went to the store on my bike 3 days ago. Do they know about that?
The same place you go to report the television programs you watch and your opinions on the current president.

And be careful... they may indeed "know that."
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Old 03-22-05, 01:39 PM   #17
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It is difficult to do meaningful statistical studies of human behavior. With crime statistics, about the only statistic that can be trusted is the number of murders - bodies have a way of showing up. But, most folks don't call the police when a $100 bike is stolen - they know reporting the crime will not lead to a police investigation. So, bike thefts are greatly underreported.

But, it turns out, even murder statistics can be misunderstood. In Houston, the number of murders using firearms dropped about 20% between 1989 and 2000. The politicians took the credit, and said that their "get tough" policies and "long sentences", and handing out the death penalty willy-nilly deserved the credit.

Then, some folks looked a bit closer. They discovered that the number of shootings in Houston was as high in 2000 as in 1989. The difference in "murders" was the result of the doctors at emergency rooms saving a far higher percentage of gunshot victims due to growing levels of experience and new techniques. In fact, the doctors bragged that they had saved some guys three or four times...regular customers.

Likewise, if the number of cyclists killed by motor vehicles in 2004 is lower than in 1994, there can be many explanations, including a higher quality of care at emergency rooms. But, in my city, two explanations that can be ruled out are "Better Drivers" and "Better Roads".
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Old 03-22-05, 02:06 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alanbikehouston
It is difficult to do meaningful statistical studies of human behavior. With crime statistics, about the only statistic that can be trusted is the number of murders - bodies have a way of showing up. But, most folks don't call the police when a $100 bike is stolen - they know reporting the crime will not lead to a police investigation. So, bike thefts are greatly underreported.

But, it turns out, even murder statistics can be misunderstood. In Houston, the number of murders using firearms dropped about 20% between 1989 and 2000. The politicians took the credit, and said that their "get tough" policies and "long sentences", and handing out the death penalty willy-nilly deserved the credit.

Then, some folks looked a bit closer. They discovered that the number of shootings in Houston was as high in 2000 as in 1989. The difference in "murders" was the result of the doctors at emergency rooms saving a far higher percentage of gunshot victims due to growing levels of experience and new techniques. In fact, the doctors bragged that they had saved some guys three or four times...regular customers.

Likewise, if the number of cyclists killed by motor vehicles in 2004 is lower than in 1994, there can be many explanations, including a higher quality of care at emergency rooms. But, in my city, two explanations that can be ruled out are "Better Drivers" and "Better Roads".

Agreed... but bear in mind that any skew in statistics can also apply to any earlier studies so often quoted by certain advocates.

What is good for the goose...
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