Cycling and bicycle discussion forums. 
   Click here to join our community Log in to access your Control Panel  


Go Back   > > >

Northern California Northern California

User Tag List

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 03-11-08, 10:52 AM   #1
johnny99
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Northern California
Bikes:
Posts: 10,579
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3 Post(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
johnny99 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-11-08, 11:19 AM   #2
DiabloScott
It's MY mountain
 
DiabloScott's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Mt.Diablo
Bikes:
Posts: 6,706
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 78 Post(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.
DiabloScott is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 03-11-08, 11:48 AM   #3
jobob
back of the autobus
 
jobob's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Folsom, CA
Bikes: Lynskey R230, Rivendell Bleriot
Posts: 743
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Precisely what I was thinking, DScott.
jobob is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-11-08, 12:07 PM   #4
jonathanb715
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: NorCal
Bikes: Kestrel Talon
Posts: 1,695
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(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
jonathanb715 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-11-08, 12:45 PM   #5
bikingshearer 
Crawlin' up, flyin' down
 
bikingshearer's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Democratic Peoples' Republic of Berkeley
Bikes: 1967 Paramount, 1982-ish Ron Cooper,1986 De Rosa Professional, 1978 Eisentraut "A," 1961 BianchiCompetizione, 1994 Trek 520, 199? Burley Bossa Nova, early-1970s Cinelli Speciale Corsa
Posts: 3,330
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(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
bikingshearer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-11-08, 01:00 PM   #6
cccorlew
Erect member since 1953
 
cccorlew's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Antioch, CA (SF Bay Area)
Bikes: Roubaix Expert, Motobecane Ti Century Elite turned commuter, Cannondale F500 Mtn bike, Some old French thing gone fixie
Posts: 6,769
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3 Post(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?
cccorlew is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-11-08, 01:35 PM   #7
jonathanb715
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: NorCal
Bikes: Kestrel Talon
Posts: 1,695
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(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
jonathanb715 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-11-08, 02:35 PM   #8
ConstantRider
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Bikes:
Posts: 477
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(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.
ConstantRider is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-11-08, 02:53 PM   #9
leeno
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Bikes:
Posts: 15
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(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.
leeno is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-11-08, 02:58 PM   #10
'nother
semifreddo amartuerer
 
'nother's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Northern CA
Bikes: several
Posts: 4,599
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(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:
Quote:
"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.
'nother is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-11-08, 03:08 PM   #11
redspoke
Senior Member
 
redspoke's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Room 237 at the Overlook Hotel
Bikes: Hyphy-Trek
Posts: 791
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(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.
redspoke is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-11-08, 03:23 PM   #12
jonathanb715
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: NorCal
Bikes: Kestrel Talon
Posts: 1,695
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(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
jonathanb715 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-11-08, 03:33 PM   #13
Red Rider
Don't mince words
 
Red Rider's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Vacaville, CA
Bikes: '08 Orbea Diva "The Avocado"; Specialized Dolce comp "Sweet Thang"; Co-Motion Roadster "Blue Jay", Fuji Team Pro
Posts: 6,948
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(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.
Red Rider is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-11-08, 03:41 PM   #14
ConstantRider
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Bikes:
Posts: 477
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(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.
ConstantRider is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-11-08, 03:53 PM   #15
'nother
semifreddo amartuerer
 
'nother's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Northern CA
Bikes: several
Posts: 4,599
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(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.
'nother is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-11-08, 04:01 PM   #16
jonathanb715
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: NorCal
Bikes: Kestrel Talon
Posts: 1,695
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(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
jonathanb715 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-11-08, 04:06 PM   #17
uspspro
Tandem Mountain Climber
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: San Mateo, CA
Bikes: Calfee Tandem, Custom CAAD9 BB30, 90 Santana Arriva Tandem, 02 CAAD4 errand bike, 87 Cannondale "Black Lightning"
Posts: 4,101
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(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.
uspspro is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-11-08, 11:51 PM   #18
Beaker
moth -----> flame
 
Beaker's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: SF Bay Area
Bikes: 11 CAAD 10-4, 07 Specialized Roubaix Comp, 98 Peugeot Horizon
Posts: 5,907
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(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.
Beaker is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off



All times are GMT -6. The time now is 04:15 PM.