Morning Links: Surprising stats on CA bike crashes, and unarmed bike rider shot by sheriff’s deputies in Castaic

LA County is by far the most dangerous place in California to ride a bicycle.

Or maybe not.

Following up on his brief look at national bicycling crash stats, Ed Ryder is back with a more detailed look at bicycle injuries and fatalities on a countywide basis in California, from 2004 to 2016. And the results are both exactly what you might expect, and very surprising, depending on how you look at the data.

The good news is, bicycling fatalities dropped slightly in 2014, following a steady upward climb from 2009 to 2013, while injuries continue a gradual decline from a peak in 2012.

State Report 1

Not surprisingly, Los Angeles, as the state’s most populous county, led the way with 41% of bicycling injuries, followed by Orange and San Diego Counties.

State Report 2

The same held true for bicycling fatalities, as Southern California counties dominate the stats, led by Los Angeles at 30%, followed by Orange, Riverside, San Diego and San Bernardino.

State Report 3

However, the surprise comes when you look at injuries and fatalities on a per capita basis.

When Ryder examined the rate of injuries per one million population, he found that Los Angeles County barely made the top ten, coming in just above the state average. Santa Cruz County led the way, followed by San Francisco, Santa Barbara, Marin and Yolo.

State Report 4

When he looked at the rate of fatalities per one million population, Los Angeles didn’t even make the top ten. It turns out that Stanislaus County is actually California’s deadliest place to ride a bicycle, followed by Tulare, Sacramento and San Joaquin Counties. However, Southern California was still well represented with Riverside, Ventura, San Bernardino and Orange Counties making the list.

State Report 5

So what exactly does this mean?

It could be more evidence of the safety in numbers effect, as you’re more likely to be injured in less populated counties.

Or the low death rate could be evidence of lower average speeds and better access to emergency care in Los Angeles County.

But the main thing it shows it that too many people are still getting injured or killed on our streets.

And we need to keep fighting until the last person killed riding a bicycle in California really is the last person killed riding a bike.

You can read the full report on California bicycling injuries and fatalities here.

………

Questions are being raised after LA sheriff’s deputies shot an unarmed bike rider in Castaic Tuesday night.

The victim, a homeless man named William Bowers, reportedly jumped off his bike and tried to flee on foot as the officers chased him. He was shot when he allegedly reached for something in his waistband.

However, a witness says he was just walking down the street, after crashing his bike when deputies ordered him to stop, and had his hands down at his side when they opened fire.

The Times says it was unclear why the officers tried to stop him in the first place.

Local residents said the victim was well-known in the area. And despite suffering from drug problems, he never caused any trouble, though he did have a habit of trying to get away from deputies on his bike.

It wasn’t that long ago that shooting an unarmed man was enough to cost an officer his badge.

Now the accusation that someone reached for his waistband is enough to exonerate a cop.

Even if the victim was just trying to hold up his pants.

………

Cyclelicious takes a deep dive into the Caltrans/UCLA report on bicycle crashes in LA County. If you don’t have the time or patience to dig through the full 97-page report, he offers an excellent summary of the key details.

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Bike SGV is hosting a used bike sale today through Saturday.

Bike SGV Used Bike Sale

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Defending silver medalist Lizzie Armistead insists she’s clean as she prepares to lead Britain’s cycling team into the Rio Olympics; she claims the missed drug tests weren’t her fault. Although missing three drug tests in 12 months does not exactly inspire confidence; after the repeated denials from Lance, Floyd, et al, it’s hard to believe anyone who denies doping these days.

Bicycling gets in the mood for Rio with five crazy moments in Olympic cycling history.

………

Local

Metro votes to put the transportation tax increase, including funding for bike and pedestrian projects, on the November ballot.

KPCC’s Air Talk discusses the new law requiring temporary plates on newly purchased vehicles, which should help identify hit-and-run drivers.

CiclaValley continues his report on the ten most essential climbs in the LA area.

There will be a fundraiser this Saturday for bike shop owner Josef Bray-Ali’s grass roots effort to unseat anti-bike CD1 City Councilmember Gil Cedillo, aka Roadkill Gil.

Covina police arrest a burglary suspect who fled by bicycle after breaking a car window and stealing a purse.

The host of Tom Explores Los Angeles will explore the history of Santa Monica later this month with a tour that’s part walking and part bikeshare.

 

State

Mind the letter of the law in OC this weekend, where sheriff’s deputies will be enforcing traffic violations involving drivers, pedestrians and cyclists, in the latest effort to improve safety for the latter two.

Exclusive La Jolla may get a few docking stations for San Diego’s bikeshare system whether they want it or not. Meanwhile, a La Jolla man has discovered the alleys of the community because he’s not comfortable riding his bike on the street.

The madness continues in Coronado, as a letter writer says a proposed bike and pedestrian bridge would just bring more transients. Because evidently homeless people can’t figure out how to take the ferry, or follow the bike path around the bay to the strange little town.

A suspected Palm Springs car thief fleeing from the CHP on a bicycle suffered minor injuries when he allegedly swerved left into the patrol car that was driving right beside him. Sure, that’s credible; a suicide swerve makes much more sense than the cops cutting him off with their car to stop him.

Congratulations to Bakersfield on 29 new bouncing baby bike racks.

Bay Area advocates are pushing for a bike and pedestrian bridge over an estuary near Jack London Square.

An Oakland man was shot in a bike-jacking. Seriously, if someone has a weapon, just let them have the damn bike. No bicycle is worth your life.

 

National

A new Streetfilm says building an equitable bikeshare system is possible.

A man and his dog traveling cross-country by bike were both banged up when their rear wheel “exploded” while riding in South Dakota.

A group of Columbus OH cyclists will ride in purple tutus this weekend to honor a friend who died of leukemia.

A bicyclist slammed into a pedestrian in New York on Wednesday. Notice how no one ever seems to suggest that it might not have been the rider’s fault in cases like this, even though the pedestrian was jaywalking.

A New York study shows protected bike lanes reduce bicyclist and pedestrian injuries and fatalities at intersections by a whopping 53%. Despite claims by some that protected lanes would leave riders more vulnerable at intersections.

A Pennsylvania bike rider offers seven reasons not to hit a bike rider with your car. Reason #8: I know a lot of good lawyers.

The coaching staff of the Washington Redskins commute to training camp by bicycle, despite what they describe as a wild ride dodging car doors and riding salmon.

She gets it. A Charleston SC columnist says it’s time to stop bitching about traffic caused by a bike lane on a bridge, and focus on building a community that serves and protects all people, not just the ones in cars.

An off-duty Charleston cop has been charged with assault and battery following a fight with a salmon cyclist; the officer resigned while the case was under investigation.

A pair of Hilton Head SC thieves stole a pickup from a driveway, and left a bicycle in its place. Sounds like the owner of the truck may have gotten the better end of the deal.

 

International

Cycling Weekly explores the eternal question of what’s the right tire pressure.

If you build it, they will like it. Saskatoon, Canada residents are happy with a pilot bike lane network in the downtown area, even if it leaves a lot to be desired.

A Welsh woman was killed when she rode off a the edge of a ravine in the Pyrenees while cycling in a heavy fog.

Brit commenters argue over who’s at fault when video surfaces of a bike rider getting right hooked as he overtakes a taxi, whose driver failed to signal. So why does it have to be one or the other? Isn’t it just possible that both of them might have contributed to the situation?

An 81-year old Pakistani man is scraping by as a Lahore rickshaw driver after being hailed as a hero when he competed for the country as a cyclist in the 1960 and 1964 Olympics.

Caught on video: A bike-riding Kiwi mail carrier goes out of his way to get a few licks from a nine-month old German Shepherd.

Malaysian authorities raided the country’s cycling officials after accusations of substandard tracks and a lack of safety barriers during the recent Malaysia Games, even though funds had been allocated for the courses.

 

Finally…

No, really. It’s okay if you blow that red light, because you’re just following the rules of calories. How to tell if you’re a Fred.

And yes, you can cart a caribou carcass by bicycle.

 

2 comments

  1. Glenn says:

    Alternate title, “Data skewed can mean anything”

  2. A word of caution on interpreting the collision data and comparing cities: several years ago the Calif Office of Traffic Safety updated its statistical methodology used to rank cities and counties. Additionally, it has always been the case that OTS only compares cities within an assigned population group. Counties are ranked against each other statewide independent of population numbers. That means, for example, the city of Los Angeles is NOT compared to the city of San Clemente because LA is one of 14 Group A cities while San Clemente is one of 103 Group C cities. But at the county level, LA is directly compared to OC.

    For example, with total fatal and injury collisions in 2013, LA ranked 42 of 58 California counties with 51,878 killed and injured. OC ranked 26 of 58 counties with 14,839 casualties. Conclude: despite have < 1/3 the speed related collisions in LA, OC was ranked as more dangerous.

    The OTS's newer stat method considers more variables than just population and vehicle miles traveled. That's important to the data presented in today's pie charts. For example, if 2 different hypothetical communities have 1,000 bike crashes annually, but one jurisdiction has 1 million residents and the other 5 million residents, collision rate per capita is lower in the latter; that doesn't necessarily mean its roads are safer.

    What should we conclude? Answer: it's complicated and data analysis needs to consider a lot more than VMT's and census population. We should bear that in mind. (My guess is OC's newer, master planned communities' high-speed (50-65mph) local roads are a key factor in its ranking as more dangerous compared to LA).

    Here's a copy of the OTS methodology statement posted on http://www.ots.ca.gov.

    "Collision rankings are based on the Empirical Bayesian (EB) Ranking Method. This method is increasingly used by researchers and statisticians as a means to bring together and give varying weights to many different factors. Previous OTS Collision Rankings used only population and daily vehicle miles traveled as factors, and ranked them separately. The EB Method still uses population and daily vehicle miles traveled, but adds in crash records, crash trends and other weighing factors to arrive at a single, more accurate ranking.

    Data for the rankings is taken from several agencies, including the California Highway Patrol (CHP) Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS), California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), California Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Department of Finance (DOF).
    DUI arrest totals and rankings are calculated for cities only and are based on rates of non-CHP DUI arrests (Department of Justice data). This is so that local jurisdictions can see how their own efforts are working.

    Counties are assigned statewide rankings, while cities are assigned population group rankings."

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