The great majority of car/bicycle collisions are not fatal -- more than 95% are non-fatal. Fatal bicycle accidents are a relatively rare event.
Being hit from behind is a rare form of collision, but an exceptionally severe form, so they're over-represented when ignoring injuries. We've known that at least since Cross & Fisher in 1977, who documented that these crashes were rare (<5% of car/bike collisions) but severe (25% of all car/bike fatalities). Turns out, that's still true, based on national collision data.
LAB's report doesn't address the frequency of collisions or the severity of injuries, it looks only at fatal accidents. Amputees, quadriplegics and the comatose need not apply.
LAB notes that "High-speed urban and suburban arterial streets with no provisions for bicyclists are an over-represented location — representing 56 percent of all bicyclist fatalities." That, too, is essentially unchanged from existing data.
The new LAB report isn't really a "study" in the proper sense -- its data sources are post-hoc classification of a non-random subset of fatal accidents, with accident classifications based on media reports, which are notoriously inaccurate and incomplete, not to mention sensationalized. Yet, relying on media reports, the report pretends to be able to distinguish between hit-from-behind and side-swipe crash types, for example. That's a distinction that's hard to make even given complete police reports on many accidents.
The report was unable to classify crash types for 1/4 of the collisions it covers, another sign of poor data, yet it does not exclude those low-quality data points from its calculations.
Overall, LAB's report tends to confirm what we already knew -- severe urban accidents tend to be at intersections; severe suburban and rural accidents tend to be on narrow, high-speed roadways. That also comports well with last year's cycletrack studies that show cycletracks are among the safest facilities for long corridors with minimal intersection density (along side highways, rivers, waterfronts), but are an order of magnitude more hazardous when constructed with the intersection density of an urban street grid.
Unfortunately, overlooking all of those nuances, it appears the report is being used to argue in favor of urban cycletracks, reducing the already-low risk of rear-end accidents in urban areas while increasing the already-high risk of intersection accidents.
I would certainly view that as a very "bad thing."
Tthis article lists that drinking and driving is the main cause of rear fatal accidents. Therefore... alcohol again.... silent killer.
I'm not slow, I'm just enjoying the race longer.
Of course I am making an assumption... and we know where that leads.
BTW I do believe Massachusetts bans cyclists from high speed roads... (correct me if I am wrong). How do things work there?
Around here "2 lane" also means "heavily travelled" and "no shoulder."
4 lanes have usually about the same amount of traffic but on more lanes, and they usually have generous shoulders.
The 2 lane roads are usually ones that were built decades ago before we had much growth around here, 4+ lanes are when they started actually designing for more traffic.
Even a 2+center turn is much better than a 2 lane road.
Work: the 8 hours that separates bike rides.
"In general - Notwithstanding any other provision of this title, a person may not ride a bicycle or motor scooter; (1) On any roadway where the posted maximum speed limit is more than 50 miles per hour [Cyclists may operate on the shoulder of a roadway where the posted speed limit exceeds 50 mph unless otherwise prohibited.]"
I don't know how restrictive this rule is in practice. Maryland has a rather dense road network so there may almost always be reasonable alternate routes, but even there I wonder if there aren't some businesses located directly on a 55+ mph road which cannot legally be reached by cycling.
I'd be more concerned about such a ban in western states where it might effectively make substantial areas off-limits to cyclists.
If the unposted limit in MD is only 50mph, this may be OK, since the language "greater than 50" would include only roads with higher posted speeds. How OK it is or isn't depends on the number and nature of the roads that exclude bicycles.
Here in New York, I can name a great number of roads that it's legal to ride on, but that I wouldn't unless there were absolutely no other option.
An ounce of diagnosis is worth a pound of cure.
“Never argue with an idiot. He will only bring you down to his level and beat you with experience.”, George Carlin
“One accurate measurement is worth a thousand expert opinions” - Adm Grace Murray Hopper - USN
WARNING, I'm from New York. Thin skinned people should maintain safe distance.
And of course from that point comes the question... are there alternative routes in the areas where cyclists are banned that allow cyclists to get to the things they need to get to?
This is no way meant to imply that the state respected bicyclists; I remember a highway project that would sever a road legal for bicyclists, and the state legislature said that the SHA (State Highway Authority) had to maintain accessibility on routes with signficant bicycle traffic. When the SHA removed bicyclists' access, it turned out that they did not measure bicycle traffic because their view "bicycle traffic" was by definition "Not significant" and they would not even measure it. I think this was around Route 29.
Interstates and bridge were also generally completely prohibited. According to state brochures, bicyclists could ask the SHA for rides over certain bridges with 48-72 hour notice; I never heard of anyone actually doing this.
I can assure you the point the policeman that pulled me over was trying to make is that locations on these roads are inaccessible to bicyclists for our own safety, no matter how empty the lanes may be.
But when riding with traffic.... I live by: Take the lane, ride hard and ride fast.
I find the magic threshold to be 20 mph where I become "one of them". Also I find when I am pacing in a line of traffic at 25-30 mph I get treated just like a motorcyclist. It may be a subconscious thing for motorists but I most definitely get treated differently when i LOOK LIKE i am in a hurry to get to work too.
One good trick I picked up long ago is to wear long sleeve white dress shirts while commuting. Even unbuttoned with the sleeves rolled up they signify a working man going to a job. I buy the shirts at thrift shops and try to find the lightest weight most thread bare ones for hot weather riding. They also block the sun saving me money on sunscreen.
As Willie Shakespeare said: "All the world's a stage". I try to dress and act the part to get the respect I deserve in an urban cycling setting.
Last edited by JoeyBike; 05-31-14 at 08:22 AM.
"For all we know his skills may be excellent, allowing him to ride like an idiot without actually being one." - FBinNY
Speaking for myself...yuck.
The challenge of riding fast in the river of urban traffic is the freaking highlight of my day. It's a an effing meditative experience for me. And I personally am far more worried about the effects of vehicle pollution on my health than the effect of a vehicle impact.
Also due to age and my fitness level..... I tend limit the periods of extreme effort. I can only go so hard... for so long.