Morning Links: CA exceeds national average in bicycling deaths, Caltrans studies bike crashes in LA County

Maybe we’re not quite as bad as it seems.

It’s been reported that California leads the nation in bicycling fatalities, with Florida a close second.

That doesn’t take into account the difference in population, though; as the nation’s largest state, it’s not surprising we lead in this most unwelcome category.

But if you look at the rate of bicycling deaths on a per capita basis, you get a very different picture. Stats man Ed Ryder created a graph to put things in better perspective, showing the Golden State ranks sixth in deaths per one million population.

Deadliest States by Population

Which is still too damn high.

As his next chart clearly shows, California has exceeded the national average every year since 2004. And probably before that.

CA bike deaths re: US

Which leaves us with the question what are we doing wrong?

And what are we going to do about it?

You can read his full report here.

………

Caltrans and UCLA offer a detailed study of bike crashes in Los Angeles County based on the CHP’s SWITRS data, correlated with ridership based on local bike counts.

Both of which can be problematic; SWITRS relies on voluntary reporting of crashes by local police agencies, not all of whom provide accurate or timely data.

And bike counts only offer a snapshot of who is riding in a given area at a given time. Unfortunately though, it’s the only data available for many areas, since both the city and county of Los Angeles have long failed in their responsibility to collect accurate ridership data.

Without accurate data, it’s impossible to make the informed choices necessary to meet save lives and meet the needs of bike riders.

I haven’t had a chance to dig into the study yet. However, Richard Masoner of Cyclelicious called out a few key points.

  • Right turn only lanes double the risk for cyclists
  • LA Metro Rapid bus lines have a higher risk of bicycle crashes when compared to other primary roads without rapid bus lines
  • Locations with the highest crash risk tend to have below-average bicycle ridership
  • Roads with vehicle volumes over 20,000 have significantly higher average crash counts and crash rates for bike riders
  • There is a higher number of crashes and crash rates in poorer, non-white neighborhoods than higher income, white neighborhoods
  • People of color have higher risk of bike crashes than whites
  • If you ride your bike in high income neighborhood, you’re less likely to crash your bicycle
  • Vehicle speeds above 30 mph are associated with about 30-40% more crashes, but about 200-300% higher crash risk per cyclist
  • Lower-hanging fruit in terms of safety interventions is where ridership is moderate but risk is high

Masoner credits CABO’s Jim Baross for forwarding the report.

………

Great post from Detroit’s Wheelhouse, explaining how to drive like you don’t want to murder cyclists.

Seriously, this should be required reading for anyone who drives, or is even thinking about it.

………

Britain’s Lizzie Armistead has been cleared to compete in the Rio Olympics, despite missing three drug tests in a 24-hout period. And despite ample warnings. However, a doping official says they made the right call to reinstate her.

A South Korean cyclist is the first casualty of the Olympics as he gets mirrored on a training ride.

NBC presents the full schedule of Olympic cycling events, which will be available for live streaming.

Nineteen-year old South African cyclist Keagan Girdlestone is making a near-miraculous recovery after he was nearly killed crashing into a support vehicle during Italy’s Coppa Della Pace in June.

Former doper and ex-Tour de France winner Floyd Landis is now in the ganja rub business.

With the departure of its founder, Colorado’s USA Pro Challenge has semi-officially bitten the dust. Although it could be replaced by a seven-stage race for amateurs who can afford it.

London’s mass RideLondon race will be the first and only British event on the WorldTour pro cycling calendar next year.

Sunday’s Manhattan Beach Grand Prix will feature a new 50-minute race for junior riders.

………

Local

LA County is offering a $10,000 reward for the people who pistol-whipped a doctor after he refused to pay $150 for allegedly damaging a bicycle.

Streetsblog’s Sahra Sulaiman reports on the South LA Vision Zero focus group, stressing the importance of getting to know the South LA community before “presuming to plan for it or construct campaigns targeting it.” Meanwhile, Streetsblog’s Joe Linton has his own comic thoughts on Vision Zero.

Anti-bike incumbent councilmember Gil Cedillo has raised $250,000 for his re-election campaign, far more than grass-roots challenger Josef Bray-Ali.

A writer for The Source tries the new Metro Bike bikeshare, and she likes it.

LA Downtowner visits The Wheelhouse coffee shop/bike shop in DTLA. Not to be confused with the aforementioned Detroit establishment of the same name.

CiclaValley begins counting down LA’s ten most essential climbs.

 

State

Streetsblog writes about the state legislation that would lower the fine for drivers who roll through red lights to make a right turn. Meanwhile, the LA Post-Examiner takes a look at the issue as well, and gives this site a shout-out in the process; thanks to Tim Forkes for the link and the kind words.

Costa Mesa police are looking for the thief who stole a $3,000 bike from a 22-year old man’s garage while he was spending his birthday at Children’s Hospital donating blood; he used the bike for physical and emotional therapy after suffering a series of medical issues. Seriously, there’s a special place in Hell for whoever took that bike.

A Santa Barbara rider explains the origins of the city’s annual Fiesta Cruiser Ride in 1979.

When a Bakersfield man agreed to meet someone at a park to sell a bike he’d advertised on Craigslist, the buyer stole his bike, then shot at him as he pursued the thief’s car. Best advice I’ve seen for similar situations is to meet the other party at the local police station for any exchanges.

A bike rider killed in Sacramento last month had moved to the city to start over after kicking his addiction to drugs.

An Auburn mountain biker was rescued after a fall when people heard his screams for help.

 

National

Bike lawyer Bob Mionske explains how to lower your legal responsibility when organizing a group ride.

A 23-year old Spokane man is facing a murder charge after deliberately running down a bike rider when they quarreled over a pair of speakers.

A second man has been charged with spreading tacks along a popular Denver-area cycling route; the suspect is a cousin of the man charged last week. And both should go away for as long as the law allows.

A Houston restaurant is under attack by eco-friendly, bike riding vandals.

A Chicago jazzman has been practicing his saxophone under an overpass for decades as drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians go by.

Evanston IL residents bring out the pitchforks and torches after a new protected bike lane is installed, calling it dangerous and poorly thought out; one protester noted that drivers had to move into the parking lane to let a fire truck pass. Which is exactly what they are supposed to do.

Michigan bike riders are increasingly wary as roads become more dangerous.

A New Hampshire man has been commuting seven miles to work by bike for the last 16 years, towing his dog behind him in an open trailer.

New York police still haven’t made an arrest in the hit-and-run murder of a bike rider last month; police recovered the car the driver used as he appeared to intentionally swerve into the bike lane to run down the victim from behind.

The Alabama road rage victim whose dreams of riding across the US were shattered when a rampaging truck driver ran over his bike will leave the state with fond memories after all, as people donated over $4,000 to keep him going.

 

International

A Winnipeg writer says bicyclists want to get off the road as much as motorists want them to.

After being confronted by a racist, road-raging driver and his passengers, an Edmonton, Canada bicyclist says he won’t back down in the face of online harassment, because as a bike rider, he already knows what it’s like to be marginalized.

Brompton’s quirky folding bikes have achieved cult status.

A cop in the UK was honored for saving the life of a bike rider trapped under the wheels of a double-decker bus.

The mayor of Paris says she wants to “give Parisians back the space that cars have taken from them.” I’d love to hear LA’s Mayor Garcetti say that. And mean it.

Israeli border guards take a bike from an eight-year old Palestinian girl and throw it into the bushes, apparently to reserve the road for Jewish settlers; only one of the two officers involved was disciplined.

A Sydney, Australia bike rider suffered third degree burns on his upper thigh when his iPhone exploded after he fell off his bike. Thanks to Stanley E. Goldich and Mike Wilkinson for the heads-up.

Not every cyclist who gets it wrong is an “arrogant arsehole,” a newly minted Perth, Australia bike commuter warns; they might just be incompetent.

Relatives of a Philippine cyclist fatally shot by an angry driver call for restraint in the hopes that he may be the last victim of road rage.

 

Finally…

Your next bike could be an ad. How to spot a female cyclist. Besides that whole woman on a bike, thing, that is.

And it’s a rocky and humiliating road to being a “real” cyclist.

 

2 comments

  1. Ralph says:

    One theory for some of California’s excess bike death numbers, along with Florida and a good portion of the worst 10 is the chance to ride year round. There are just a greater number of days available for riding. I wonder if there would be a way to cross that against “riding days”. Yes I do know that a number of people in colder climates ride through snow and ice but the numbers drop, probably significantly. Or does the worse weather decrease the chance of death because drivers are slower…

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