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TxDOT: State's cycling deaths up in 2020


TxDOT: State's cycling deaths up in 2020

Old 08-13-21, 09:05 PM
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TxDOT: State's cycling deaths up in 2020

68 cyclist deaths in 2019; 82 cyclists deaths in 2020.

A 535-word press release on the subject that doesn't say much:


One error I noted: the press release says cyclists in Texas must ride as far right as 'possible'. This is incorrect. This error is common in letters to the editor and call-in shows but really unforgivable in a TxDOT press release. Texas Transportation Code 551.103 states cyclists shall ride as far right as practicable. Texas Courts, like most other courts anchored on the Common Law, have consistently held practicable does not mean possible. Practicable as a legal term includes an element of flexibility in execution. Further, the roadway as legally defined does not include the shoulder ( 541.302), a rider may move left to avoid unsafe conditions or surface hazards and if a lane is less than 14 feet wide a cyclist may 'take the lane' ( 551.103).
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Old 08-14-21, 09:08 PM
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Choose your routes carefully in Texas. You have to share the road with lots of 18 wheelers with oversize loads, livestock trailers, horse trailers and other such behemoths.
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Old 08-15-21, 08:27 AM
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Unfortunately, my experience with TXDOT is that I can't rely on what they say. I understand large bureaucracies are hard to manage.. but on my scale of bureaucratic performance, they rank pretty low.

Take a look at that press release. Talk about putting lipstick on a pig. They start out by saying that crashes were down in 2020, which as of April 13, 2021 tabulation was true: 562,163 in 2019 versus 474,549 in 2020 as of April 13, 2021.

But total road fatalities? Let's see (I abbreviated it for clarity):

Can I trust April 2021 statistics?

I know from experience that the source data dribbles in slowly to their CRASH system, which I believe is the source of their statistics. Interestingly, as of April 13, 2021, pedalcyclist fatalities are listed as 79.. but the August press release? 81. Pedestrian deaths increased from 717 to 731.

I wouldn't be surprised that crashes decreased in COVID year, but then their estimate of VMT increased, bucking the national trend and frankly, my own observations of (sparse) traffic on the roads last March>June. So paint me skeptical of their 2020 VMT estimate.

One last TXDOT note of importance: They have a program which will provide 90% funding (federal $ administered by TXDOT) called the Highway Safety Improvement Program. As with all things, it is complicated as the innards of an ATM, but last year it ended up that local jurisdictions could apply for grants for local streets and roads if there was a fatality or serious injury in the prior 3 calendar years. We had a pedalcyclist killed and that earned us a grant for 90% of a $800,000 sidepath. If you've had a fatality or serious injury in 2018, 2019 or 2020 that a project would prevent, it is possible your local jurisdiction could get this HSIP funding. Last year, we had to have our ducks in a row by October 1 .. but TXDOT hasn't yet issued the guidance for the 2021 program so who knows...

TXDOT statistics: Texas Motor Vehicle Crash Statistics - 2020 (txdot.gov) (you can see other years also)
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