Advertise on Bikeforums.net



User Tag List

Results 1 to 18 of 18
  1. #1
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Northern California
    Posts
    10,388
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Bicycle fatalities on the rise in Bay Area

    From the front page of today's SF Chronicle:
    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/articl.../MNHPVHGQB.DTL

    Bicycle fatalities on the rise in Bay Area
    Michael Cabanatuan,Erin McCormick, Chronicle Staff Writers
    Tuesday, March 11, 2008

    Riding a bicycle in the Bay Area is an increasingly deadly pastime.

    The number of bicyclists killed in collisions with motor vehicles has increased 28 percent over the past decade - from 18 to 23 deaths per year, according to a Chronicle analysis of data collected by the California Highway Patrol.

    That increase is despite a 22 percent drop in the number of regional bicycle accidents between 1997 and 2006, the last year for which complete statistics are available for the nine Bay Area counties. The number of bicyclists injured in accidents over that period declined by a similar amount.

    Statewide statistics show a similar trend over the same period: a 37 percent rise in fatal accidents and a decline of 22 percent in both the total number of bicycle accidents and the number of injuries.

    "That means more of the bicyclists who are being hit are being killed," said Sean Co, bicycling coordinator for the Metropolitan Transportation Commission.

    Not all bicycle accidents are the same, he said. Accidents in urban areas are most common but occur at lower speeds where injuries are more likely to be less serious. But accidents on rural roads or open highways are likely to involve higher speeds.

    "Speed," he said, "is probably the highest contributing factor in any bicycle collision that results in a fatality."

    The two bicyclists who died Sunday after being struck by a Santa Clara County deputy sheriff were riding on Stevens Canyon Road, a rural route frequently used by cyclists in training. It is not known what speed Deputy James Council, 27, was traveling when he crossed the double yellow line of the two-lane road and struck three bicyclists.

    Some bicycle advocates surmise that the total number of accidents is decreasing because of a growing driver awareness thanks to the increase in the number of people riding bikes and because of education programs urging motorists to share the road.

    "A lot of cities and nonprofits have instituted bicycle safety programs," said Corinne Winter, executive director of the Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition. "Maybe that's starting to make a difference."

    According to the CHP statistics, 179 Bay Area bicyclists have been killed and 25,715 injured in bicycle collisions with cars between 1997 and 2006. But the number of accidents and the number of injuries have each steadily decreased while the number of fatalities remained steady for years before jumping to 23 in 2006. And, based on an analysis of incomplete 2007 data, the increase in fatalities is likely to continue.

    Santa Clara County was the deadliest place for Bay Area bicyclists over the past decade, according to the CHP data, which is collected from local police and sheriff's departments. A total of 44 bicyclists were killed during the 10 years. Alameda County had the second highest total of fatal bicycle collisions with 29, followed by Contra Costa County with 27. The fewest bicyclists, 5, were killed in Marin County.

    Santa Clara County also had the most bicycle injuries - 6,888. Alameda County followed with 5,803, and San Francisco was third with 3,165.

    Bicycling advocates say the way to cut accidents is to raise the awareness of motorists to the likelihood they will encounter bicyclists on the road and that the law gives bike riders the same rights and responsibilities that motorists have.

    "Our biggest message is to pay attention," said Elizabeth Kiker, spokeswoman for the League of American Bicyclists, a national organization that advocates for bicyclists. "Hang up the cell phone, stop text messaging. Bicyclists are deserving of the same amount of attention (as drivers)."

    But how to get drivers and bicyclists to safely share the road remains a vexing problem. Several states have passed laws that require drivers to give bicyclists a minimum 3-foot berth as they pass. Assemblyman Pedro Nava, D-Santa Barbara, attempted unsuccessfully to get a similar law passed in California last year amid questions of how to enforce it.

    Other governmental entities have tried various solutions, such as enlarging shoulders on highways or reducing speed limits. And many bike advocates urge aggressive enforcement of existing laws, and harsh penalties for those convicted - especially in fatal collisions.

    "We do believe in appropriate punishment to motivate people to pay better attention," said Winter. "This is human life, after all, and we need to take these things very seriously."

    E-mail the writers at mcabanatuan@sfchronicle.com and emccormick@sfchronicle.com.

    This article appeared on page A - 1 of the San Francisco Chronicle

  2. #2
    It's MY mountain DiabloScott's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Mt.Diablo
    Posts
    5,480
    Mentioned
    6 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    The increase in the cycling population is probably a lot higher than 28%. Statistically then, I think I could make a case that cycling fatalities have decreased with respect to the number of people riding.
    Last edited by DiabloScott; 03-11-08 at 11:26 AM.
    http://diabloscott.blogspot.com/

  3. #3
    back of the autobus jobob's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Union City, CA
    My Bikes
    Lynskey R230, Rivendell Bleriot
    Posts
    743
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Precisely what I was thinking, DScott.

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    NorCal
    My Bikes
    Kestrel Talon
    Posts
    1,695
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by DiabloScott View Post
    The increase in the cycling population is probably a lot higher than 28%. Statistically then, I think I could make a case that cycling fatalities have decreased with respect to the number of people riding.
    Can't argue with that conclusion, but the idea that when accidents do happen they are more likely to be deadly is sobering.

    JB
    "Poor Reverend Hamilton! He worked so hard, got a mountain named after him and now all anyone wants to do is complain about his backside!" Overheard while climbing Mt. Hamilton

    Check out my cycling blog.

  5. #5
    Crawlin' up, flyin' down bikingshearer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Democratic Peoples' Republic of Berkeley
    My Bikes
    1967 Paramount, 1982-ish Ron Cooper,1986 De Rosa Professional, 1978 Eisentraut "A," 1961 BianchiCompetizione, 1994 Trek 520, 199? Burley Bossa Nova
    Posts
    3,049
    Mentioned
    4 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    The article reports that, after several years of holding steady in the upper teens, there was in increase from 18 to 23 in the last year for which records are available. One year does not a trend make, especially when we are talking about so few instances. (And yes, I agree that one death is one too many, but I'm taking in the statistical sense.) It may be that the number of cycling traffic deaths is in fact going up as a trend, but it also may be that that one year was a fluke. We don't know yet.

    No question that we all have to remember to be careful out on the road and on the trail, but there is not enough data to support a conclusion that bicycling fatalities are, in fact, on the rise. Put another way, this bears watching, but it's too early to tag this as a trend.
    "I'm in shape -- round is a shape." Andy Rooney

  6. #6
    Erect member since 1953 cccorlew's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Antioch, CA (SF Bay Area)
    My Bikes
    Roubaix Expert, Motobecane Fantom Outlaw turned commuter, Cannondale F500 Mtn bike, Some old French thing gone fixie
    Posts
    6,552
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    What i want is a breakdown. I want to know how I can use this info.
    How many were the fault of the cyclist?
    How many were what I think of as road cyclists, as opposed to kids or crack heads?
    How many cases could the cyclist have avoided the problem?
    How many are car related?
    How many are drivers just screwing up?

    Other than stop riding, what can I do to make my cycling safer? I do the obvious stuff, but is there something surprising I'm missing?
    WANTED: Not a darn thing. I've got it all. Life is good.
    Website at curtis.corlew.com Bicycle blog at ccorlew.blogspot.com

  7. #7
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    NorCal
    My Bikes
    Kestrel Talon
    Posts
    1,695
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by bikingshearer View Post
    The article reports that, after several years of holding steady in the upper teens, there was in increase from 18 to 23 in the last year for which records are available. One year does not a trend make, especially when we are talking about so few instances. (And yes, I agree that one death is one too many, but I'm taking in the statistical sense.) It may be that the number of cycling traffic deaths is in fact going up as a trend, but it also may be that that one year was a fluke. We don't know yet.

    No question that we all have to remember to be careful out on the road and on the trail, but there is not enough data to support a conclusion that bicycling fatalities are, in fact, on the rise. Put another way, this bears watching, but it's too early to tag this as a trend.
    While I agree that a 1 year increase isn't statistically valid, 10 years of steady fatalities with a declining accident rate still means that any given accident is more likely to be fatal.

    JB
    "Poor Reverend Hamilton! He worked so hard, got a mountain named after him and now all anyone wants to do is complain about his backside!" Overheard while climbing Mt. Hamilton

    Check out my cycling blog.

  8. #8
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    477
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    There is a link on the page this story appears on to a database where the info it presents is broken down on a county-by-county basis. Click here to use it.

    For more info about cyclist fatalities/accidents in general, here is a comprehensive set of statistics.

    Major points to note: 24% of the cyclists killed in 2006 had a blood-alcohol content of .08 or higher. Yes, that's cyclists, not drivers.

    6PM to 9PM is when the greatest percentage of fatalities occur.

    In 2006, 71% of the fatalities occured in urban environments.

  9. #9
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    15
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Of course the most important statistic is one we know, but some refuse to think applies to them:

    Ninety-five percent of bicyclists killed in 2006 reportedly weren't wearing helmets.

  10. #10
    semifreddo amartuerer 'nother's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Northern CA
    My Bikes
    several
    Posts
    4,599
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by cccorlew View Post
    Other than stop riding, what can I do to make my cycling safer? I do the obvious stuff, but is there something surprising I'm missing?
    That is a good point.

    According to the article:
    "Speed," he said, "is probably the highest contributing factor in any bicycle collision that results in a fatality."
    Presumably the are talking about speed of the other vehicle, not the bicycle. That suggests that the usual remedies for cyclists to apply (making oneself more visible, wearing helmets, etc.) are of little use in preventing fatalities. Not to suggest that we shouldn't employ these techniques, but we shouldn't delude ourselves that these alone are going to "keep us alive".


    What we need is a way to slow vehicles down. If only they were equipped with some kind of device or mechanism to allow them to do that...
    Last edited by 'nother; 03-11-08 at 03:07 PM.
    Can you pass the test?
    Yield to Life.

  11. #11
    Senior Member redspoke's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Room 237 at the Overlook Hotel
    My Bikes
    Hyphy-Trek
    Posts
    791
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Another thing to consider is the size of the cars on the road today compared to 10 years ago. I can only think of one friend whos parents had a Suburban when I was growing up. Nowadays I can't see in parking lots when I'm backing up because I'm sandwiched between two of them just about every time.
    The Brevet the other day... Geez! If it wasn't a Harley on 128 it was a jacked-up full-size 4x4 pickup. Chances are if you get hit today you're going to have grill marks rather than rolling over the hood.
    Again, just a thought.

  12. #12
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    NorCal
    My Bikes
    Kestrel Talon
    Posts
    1,695
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by ConstantRider View Post
    There is a link on the page this story appears on to a database where the info it presents is broken down on a county-by-county basis. Click here to use it.

    For more info about cyclist fatalities/accidents in general, here is a comprehensive set of statistics.

    Major points to note: 24% of the cyclists killed in 2006 had a blood-alcohol content of .08 or higher. Yes, that's cyclists, not drivers.

    6PM to 9PM is when the greatest percentage of fatalities occur.

    In 2006, 71% of the fatalities occured in urban environments.
    Thanks - that helps. That 95% of fatalities were riders not wearing helmets sure does answer Curtis' question, doesn't it? As for accident avoidance, 40% of the fatal accidents happened between 6 pm and midnight. The stats don't say for sure, but visibility had to have something to do with that!

    JB
    "Poor Reverend Hamilton! He worked so hard, got a mountain named after him and now all anyone wants to do is complain about his backside!" Overheard while climbing Mt. Hamilton

    Check out my cycling blog.

  13. #13
    Don't mince words Red Rider's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Vacaville, CA
    My Bikes
    '08 Orbea Diva "The Avocado"; Specialized Dolce comp "Sweet Thang"; Co-Motion Roadster "Blue Jay", Fuji Team Pro
    Posts
    6,864
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    There's a gap between what's factual (that bicycle fatalities are on the rise in the BA), and accuracy (what cccorlew asked). Another accuracy piece missing is the answer to this: How many more cyclists are riding now than in 1997? 2006? It could well be that the number of fatalities are up, but that the percentage is the same. Without knowing how many more bikes are on the road there's no way to know if this is newsworthy or just a filler piece.

    Not so say that cycling fatalities aren't newsworthy; I wish there was a way to stop them altogether. I'm just saying that the article might not be worth getting our chamois in a knot.
    When my feet hit the floor in the morning, Satan shudders and says, "Oh, *****, she's awake!"

    Visit my blog.

  14. #14
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    477
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by jonathanb715 View Post
    Thanks - that helps. That 95% of fatalities were riders not wearing helmets sure does answer Curtis' question, doesn't it? As for accident avoidance, 40% of the fatal accidents happened between 6 pm and midnight. The stats don't say for sure, but visibility had to have something to do with that!
    The 95% stat is definitely worth noting, but I wonder how well it applies to the Bay Area. I would be very surprised if 95% of the fatalities here involve riders not wearing helmets. The thing is -- there is way more recreational riding done here than in most parts of the country, and in my observation at least, the majority of recreational riders out there on the back-roads are wearing helmets. Also, most of the local fatalities I've read about over the last few years have not really tracked in any way to what the nationwide stats show are the most common characteristics of cyclist fatalities. Like the most recent incident, they've happened in the day, on rural rather than urban roads, and I can't recall any where I explicitly read that the rider was *not* wearing a helmet.

    I wear a helmet myself, but it doesn't seem like wearing one is the difference between life and death when you're getting hit by a car going 40MPH + , and that's what many of the highest-profile local cases of the last couple years have involved.

  15. #15
    semifreddo amartuerer 'nother's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Northern CA
    My Bikes
    several
    Posts
    4,599
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I think you have to be careful with trying to derive meaningful action from statistics. They tell *what* happened, and to some extent *when*, but they do not tell *why*. But it is the question of *why* that we need to answer, if we are to change our behaviors.

    Of course, the simplest, going by the statistics, would be: don't ride your bike drunk. Don't ride in intersections. Don't ride in urban areas. Don't ride on summer evenings. Don't ride if you're over 16. Don't ride if you're male.
    Can you pass the test?
    Yield to Life.

  16. #16
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    NorCal
    My Bikes
    Kestrel Talon
    Posts
    1,695
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by 'nother View Post
    I think you have to be careful with trying to derive meaningful action from statistics. They tell *what* happened, and to some extent *when*, but they do not tell *why*. But it is the question of *why* that we need to answer, if we are to change our behaviors.

    Of course, the simplest, going by the statistics, would be: don't ride your bike drunk. Don't ride in intersections. Don't ride in urban areas. Don't ride on summer evenings. Don't ride if you're over 16. Don't ride if you're male.
    Yeah, I was kind of thinking the same thing a different way - how many of the fatalities in that report were males over 16 who had been drinking and gone riding without their helmets in an urban environment between the hours of 6pm and midnight? The data to actually answer that question is in the data set, but it wouldn't help anymore than commonsense in telling us what we should or shouldn't do.

    JB
    "Poor Reverend Hamilton! He worked so hard, got a mountain named after him and now all anyone wants to do is complain about his backside!" Overheard while climbing Mt. Hamilton

    Check out my cycling blog.

  17. #17
    Tandem Mountain Climber
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    San Mateo, CA
    My Bikes
    Calfee Tandem, Custom CAAD9 BB30, 90 Santana Arriva Tandem, 02 CAAD4 errand bike, 87 Cannondale "Black Lightning"
    Posts
    4,090
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    yep. Seems like the hipster, fixie-riding, stop sign running, drunken cyclist population has sharply increased in recent times.

    I bet it is somewhat proportional to the accident stats.

  18. #18
    moth -----> flame Beaker's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    SF Bay Area
    My Bikes
    11 CAAD 10-4, 07 Specialized Roubaix Comp, 98 Peugeot Horizon
    Posts
    5,908
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    For my two cents, I think there are two quite different points here with very different statistical power. Going from 18 deaths p.a. to 23 deaths p.a. is indeed a 28% increase (and a tragic one) -- but that's a difference of 5 fatalities out of a population of approx. 7-8million in the bay area, albeit, I don't know the total pool size of cyclists. Also looking at the table, there were only 13 fatalities in 2003 -- how come 2003 was so "safe"? I would think that this highlights variability in this number over the years.

    The counter trend I think is more statistically powerful -- a 22% dop in accidents, but with the absolute numbers going from 2,882 to 2,311. Given that most people here believe that there are more cyclists (and I'm sure more cars) on the roads, I can't help but take something positive from those numbers.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •