Tag Archive for traffic collisions

Morning Links: How the economy and bike lanes affect bike wrecks, and fight the bikelash over Rowena road diet

Maybe the economy is the reason you might get hit by a car.

And more bike lanes could be the reason you don’t.

An interesting piece in Saturday’s LA Times suggests that traffic collisions surged in the first six months of this year, reversing a long-term drop, because an improved economy and lower gas prices — except in California, of course — has resulted in more people on the roads.

In fact, American’s drove a record 1.54 trillion miles in the first half of the year, beating the previous high water mark set eight years ago.

The story notes that the increase in miles driven doesn’t totally explain the jump in collisions here in California, suggesting that distracted driving also plays a significant role.

Interestingly, Dennis Hindman recently came to a similar conclusion, digging into SWITRS data submitted by the LAPD to conclude that pedestrian-involved collisions dropped when the economy tanked, while bike collisions jumped.

And that bike wrecks started to fall when more bike lanes were installed in Los Angeles.

The first chart below was created using California Highway Patrol SWITRS data of motor vehicle involved collisions reported by the LAPD within the city of Los Angeles.

Notice how the amount of pedestrian involved collisions with motor vehicles started to drop in 2009 when the economy went into a recession. Then the pedestrian involved motor vehicle collisions began to increase as the economy started to recover.

The motor vehicle involved collisions with bicycles rose in 2008 when a sharp increase in the price of gasoline very likely contributed to a large increase in the amount of bicycle commuters. The bicycle involved collisions kept increasing in the recession from 2009 through 2011, unlike the pedestrian involved collisions with motor vehicles.

The LADOT started to greatly increase the miles of bike lanes installed per calendar year beginning with 20.94 miles in 2011. Then 62.42 miles of bike lanes were installed in 2012, 96.6 miles in 2013 and 23.3 miles in 2014.

The motor vehicle involved collisions with bicycles had a much lower amount of increase in 2013 of about 1% compared to a 7% increase in 2012 and then declined by about 6% in 2014. This occurred even though there was likely a large increase in the amount of people bicycling due to the miles of bicycle lanes installed.

The percentage of the total motor vehicle collisions that involved bicycles has gone from 3% in 2007 to 6% in 2014.

Chart one

The second chart below, created from SWITRS data, shows a decline in the motor vehicle involved collisions involving other motor vehicles reported by the LAPD during the recession. Unlike the pedestrian involved collisions, these motor vehicle collisions have not increased to the pre-recession level in 2008 as the economy recovered. A contributing factor in this could be the increased level of safety for occupants of cars that car manufacturers are required to install. This may not have lowered the amount of collisions involving motor vehicles, but it could have reduced the number of LAPD collision reports due to a lower incidence of injuries to motor vehicle occupants.

Chart 2

Comparison of motor vehicle involved fatalities from collisions with other motor vehicles or pedestrians.

Chart 3

Of course, before someone else points it out, we should note that correlation is not causation. But the data does suggest it’s worth considering.

Thanks to Dennis Hindman for his analysis. Not many people have the skill, or the patience, to wade through complex data like that, and actually make sense of it.


Writing for Flying Pigeon, Richard Risemberg offers a warning about the bikelash rearing its ugly head at tonight’s town hall meeting to discuss the successful Rowena road diet, which has cut injury collisions by half.

Ivanhoe Elementary School Auditorium
2828 Herkimer St, Los Angeles, CA 90039
6:30 – 8:30pm


Cycling in the South Bay’s Seth Davidson gets a big markdown on a citation for blowing a stop on a group ride, but wonders if the ticket will count against his license.

Which serves as a reminder to always make sure any traffic ticket you get while riding clearly indicates you were on a bike. Bicycling infractions should never count as points against your driver’s license, since no license is required to ride a bike.

But if it’s not marked, the DMV may assume you were in a car, and wrongly assign points against your license for the infraction.


People say cyclists dress funny. I’ll take sausage-casing spandex festooned with logos over fashionista haute couture any day.


The Vuelta was won — and lost — on Saturday’s final mountain stage as race leader Tom Dumoulin cracked, losing nearly four minutes to fall out of contention for the podium, and allowing Fabio Aru to secure the overall victory.

Dumoulin’s performance over the first 19 stages has the Dutch dreaming of Tour de France glory. And a Madrid thief earned himself a striped jersey when police spotted a $13,600 bike stolen from the Orica Greenedge team for sale in a second hand store for one-tenth its value.

Meanwhile, American Shelley Olds sprinted to victory in the first Madrid Challenge by La Vuelta, a token 54-mile circuit race on the final day of the men’s tour.

Germany’s Andre Greipel took the seventh stage of the Tour of Britain in a photo finish, then was stripped of his victory the next day.

Forty-two-year old American Molly Shaffer Van Houweling set a new women’s hour record in Mexico City, breaking the old mark that had stood for a dozen years.

And Bicycling magazine finally catches up with the No Podium Girls movement, and agrees that offering up hot women as the spoils of victory send the wrong message to women, as well as men.



LADOT released their annual report for the last fiscal year, saying safety is their priority. Which is a welcome change from the old LADOT that focused strictly on moving as many cars as quickly as they could, safety be damned.

A Santa Monica High School student is working to promote bike helmet use with a new website, along with a 20% discount on helmets at Helen’s Cycles if you mention the site.

Bad news from Pasadena, as bike rider described only as an Asian man in his 20s is in critical condition after somehow colliding with a parked car with enough force to shatter the rear windshield; he suffered severe head and neck injuries despite wearing a helmet.

Next month’s Richard Selje Ride4Recovery in Pasadena will raise funds to make treatment more affordable for men who want to get clean, with rides of 25, 62 and 100 miles.

The Daily Breeze looks at the Redondo Beach man building custom bikes with steering wheels instead of handlebars; so far he’s only raised just $10 of a requested $10,000 with a month to go. Call me crazy, but I’d think a steering wheel would make the handling awfully twitchy.

CLR Effect’s Michael Wagner goes for a dirty ride, and looks forward to the coming SoCal Cross season.



A new poll says most Californians think local politics are pointless. And that’s how we get stuck with people like Gil Cedillo, when only a handful of people turn out to vote.

The Orange County Bicycle Coalition reports the Santa Ana River Trail is open again, after riders were detoured for construction work.

A writer for the San Diego Free Press says the city’s North Park neighborhood should be bike friendly, but isn’t.

San Diego’s Bike SD will benefit from this weekend’s 35-mile Bike to the Border.

Scofflaw Santa Cruz cyclists attend bike traffic school, just like their counterparts on four wheels. A bill to allow similar bicycle traffic diversion schools statewide passed the legislature last month and awaits the governor’s signature.

Caught on video: A plant-killing San Francisco bike messenger was apparently doing other cyclists and the native environment a favor by stomping out fennel.



Two Special Forces vets are riding cross-country to raise money to help the families of special ops soldiers, while 10 cyclists are setting out from San Diego today on a ride across the US to raise awareness of mental illness.

Portland opens a new bridge for trains, buses, bikes and pedestrians, but motor vehicles need not apply; the lights on the bridge change according to the river flow and temperature.

A dozen blind Iowans team with sighted cyclists for a tandem bike ride.

Just days after complaining to the local press about the danger of motorists driving in a dedicated bus and bike only lane, an Ohio cyclist was injured in a fall when a driver blared on his horn while hugging his back wheel. Although the driver, who claims he didn’t know about the lane restriction, says he just “beeped at the gentleman and he fell off his bike.” Right.

Nearly 500 cyclists ride from Ground Zero to Boston to remember victims of 9/11 and the Boston Marathon bombings, raising half a million dollars for the families of police officers.

A Boston area livable streets group wants to connect the area’s existing pathways to create a 200 mile bike and pedestrian network.



British police are looking for a driver who got out of his car and punched a bike rider in the face, breaking his cheekbone in an unprovoked attack.

A Brit bike rider uses his to deliver blood, breast milk and meningitis fluid to hospitals.

The new leader of the UK’s Labour Party isn’t just unabashedly liberal, he’s also car-free and rides a bike; in fact, he owns two.

One-hundred-fifty Indian med students ride their bikes to promote bicycling and other forms exercise to prevent heart attacks.

Bicycles are helping young Bangladeshi women eradicate gender disparity by providing the opportunity to get an education.

A New Zealand study said MAMILs — Middle Aged Men In Lycra, for the uninitiated — were keeping people from riding bikes, as just the thought of wearing skintight togs was enough to scare some people off. Spandex serves a purpose, especially if you plan on long, fast rides. But bicycling isn’t a fashion show; wear whatever the hell you feel comfortable riding in.

Chinese artist Ai Weiwei takes his impressive bicycle art sculpture to Australia’s National Gallery of Victoria. I can’t help thinking that those 1,500 bikes would be even more impressive on the streets with people riding them, though. Thanks to Megan Lynch for the link.



If you’re going to ride your bike to rob a bank, at least do it right; a New York man tried to rob six New York banks in just two days, but only managed to ride off with a lousy thousand bucks. Evidently, pointlessly sexist ads for children’s bike are out of fashion these days.

And no. Just… no.


A couple quick reminders that cars are big, dangerous machines that must be used with caution

No, really.

Who could have possibly seen something like this coming?

Besides everyone, I mean.

A pickup truck driver crashed into a building in Downtown L.A. on Sunday, injuring several people on the sidewalk and killing a 52-year old woman; reportedly, the collision was the result of a previously known medical condition.

Meanwhile, a 40-year old man was arrested after using his car as a weapon to ram two men he’d argued with earlier inside a Downtown strip club; one man lost both legs while the other had one leg severed.

Yet somehow, to some people, the biggest problem on our streets is scofflaw bike riders blowing through red lights and stop signs.

Yes, everyone needs to observe the law, and ride and drive safely and legally.

But motor vehicles are dangerous machines, used too often in dangerous ways. And until we accept that as a society, people will continue to be needlessly killed and maimed on our streets.

It’s not cyclists who kill over 33,000 people on American streets every year.

But you wouldn’t know that from reading some of the comments online.


An unlicensed Santa Barbara BMW driver hits another car while making an unsafe turn, hits a cyclist riding in a bike lane trying to flee the scene, gets stuck on the curb, then nearly runs over a pedestrian trying to stop him.

The driver was arrested on charges of hit-and-run with injury, driving without a license and driving under the influence; he also faces charges of dissuading a witness.


That petition calling on Governor Brown to atone for his vetoes by signing a three-foot passing law the third time around has now passed over 700 signatures.


Los Angeles continues to needlessly treat cyclists like second-class citizens on its streets. The LACBC and the authors of Where To Bike LA invite you to join them on a tour of the Rio Hondo, Los Angeles and San Gabriel Rivers next Saturday. The LACBC’s Planning Committee will host a forum with three of the area’s leading bike planning experts on Thursday, March 21 at LACBC headquarters, 634 S. Spring Street. A 31-year old woman was airlifted to UCLA Medical Center with serious injuries after a solo fall while mountain biking off Mulholland Highway. Burbank police will participate in the Police Unity Tour Bike Ride this May, riding from New Jersey to DC in honor of Burbank Police Officer Matthew Pavelka, who was killed in the line of duty 10 years ago. Burbank bans mobile billboards, including those pulled on trailers that can block bike lanes or fall and injury a cyclist or others passing by. Following the death of bike riding student Ivan Aguilar, a Cal Poly Pomona official promises to maintain the auto-centric focus on campus for the foreseeable future, while police continue their investigation. A look at one of SoCal’s leading bike advocates and nicest people, Melissa Balmer, founder of Women on Bikes.

The founder of Vista CA-based Electra bikes started a revolution in casual bicycling. A Santa Rosa cyclist explains why he isn’t one anymore. Sonoma County considers adopting an L.A.-style anti-harassment ordinancethanks to Megan Lynch for the link. Over 100 bicyclists ride in honor of two fallen Santa Cruz police officers. Two Santa Cruz County bicyclists are air-lifted to trauma centers in unrelated incidents. Could bike tourism make a difference in Redding? I’ve said it before, if you’re carrying illegal drugs and a weapon, use a headlight on your bike.

If you want to get more women on bikes, try treating them like normal people; my thought exactly. The Cascade Bicycle Club talks with Ed Orcutt, the Washington Representative who called for taxing bike riders because our breath emits greenhouse gases, and finds he’s not all bad. Phoenix police look for not one, but two hit-and-run drivers who fatally tag-teamed a bicyclist. A Boulder CO dump truck driver is convicted of careless driving resulting in death for killing a bike rider — his second offense involving a cyclist in the last four years. If you don’t think the lives of cyclists count, you’re right, at least in Wyoming. Topeka cyclists discover bike polo, saving some unused tennis courts from closure in the process. When a local rider is killed Lubbock TX, cyclists share tips on how to stay safe. After losing 60% of it’s population, Cleveland is slowly becoming a bike and pedestrian friendly city. After years of clearing killer drivers by reciting the mantra “no criminality involved,” New York police finally get serious about investigating traffic collisions; they’ve also stopped referring to collisions as accidents.  A Rochester NY driver flees the scene after Jerry Browning a cyclist riding in a bike lane with an alcohol level over twice the legal limit; yet somehow, he was still allowed behind the wheel despite a “significant criminal history” of prior DUI offenses.

A drunken Brazilian driver flees with a cyclist’s severed arm inside his car, dumping it into s stream before turning himself in. A highly detailed examination of the pros and cons of bicycle registration, including Nazi Germany’s fondness for licensing bikes; so when you license a bike, you ride with Hitler. The Pakistan cycling team gets visas to compete in the Asian Cycling Championships for the first time. South African cyclists ride to call for a five-foot passing law in honor of fallen pro cyclist Burry Stander.

Finally, an extremely drunk Montana rider crashed his bike into the back of a patrol car; no word on whether he damaged the alcohol monitoring bracelet he was wearing. And following a terrifying road rage assault, a Kansas City cyclist threatens to kill his attacker.

With kindness.

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