Most bike crashes do not involve car-bike interaction. Most bike crashes (90%) are caused by bicyclists crashing into stationary objects (parked cars, pot holes, curbs, etc), and other non-car related things (other cyclists, pedestrians, animals). The vast majority of these crashes go unreported, because they are either minor injuries, or they simply have no one else to hold legally accountable so they don’t end up with a police report.
A new study from Toronto show’s that of the 10% of crashes that do involve motorist-cyclist interaction a whopping 90% are because of motorists. (the following was stolen without permission from this amazing website, please forgive me!)
What are the Dangers in Terms of Cycling Safety?
- Accident rates per kilometer are 26 to 48 times higher for bikes than for automobiles (13).
- Nearly 44,000 cyclists have died in traffic crashes in the United States since 1932 (the first year in which estimates of cyclist fatalities were recorded) (14).
- U.S. cyclists are three times more likely to be killed than German cyclists and six times more than Dutch cyclists, whether compared per-trip or per-distance traveled (7).
- According the British Medical Journal, the most important deterrent to riding bikes expressed by non-cyclists is fear of motor traffic (15).
- While motorists often accuse cyclists of being the cause of bike-car accidents, a Toronto analysis of 2572 police collision reports (Table 1) demonstrates that this is actually not the case. The most common type of crash in this study involved a motorist entering an intersection controlled by a stop sign or red light, and either failing to stop properly, or proceeding before it was safe to do so. The second most common crash type involved a motorist overtaking unsafely. The third most common type of crash is a motorist opening a door onto an oncoming cyclist. In fact, cyclists are the cause of less than 10% of bike-car accidents in this study (1).
Table 1: Most Frequent Crash Types
Crash Type Number of Cases Relative Frequency Drive Out at Controlled Intersection 284 12.20% Motorist Overtakign 277 11.90% Motorist Opens Door in front of Bicyclist 276 11.90% Motorist Left Turn – Facing Bicyclist 248 10.70% Motorist Right Turn – Other 224 9.60% Motorist Right Turn at Red Light 179 7.70% Drive Out from Lane or Driveway 179 7.70% Ride Out At Controlled Intersection 73 3.10% Wrong Way Bicyclist 59 2.50% Ride Out At Mid-block 51 2.20%
From: Tomlinson, David. Conflicts Between Cyclists and Motorists in Toronto, Canada (1).
- Data from Canada suggests that provinces that have invested the most in cycling tend to have the highest rates of cycling and also the lowest rates cycling mortality. Quebec has invested more than any other province on cycling (5). For the period 1987 to 2000, the total number of bicycles in Quebec more than doubled, and the number of regular cyclists increased by 50%, while cycling fatalities fell by 42%, serious injuries fell by 56%, and minor injuries fell by 38% (5).
- Data from Europe (Figures 1and 2) also suggests that counties that have invested the most in cycling tend to have the highest rates of cycling and also the lowest rates cycling mortality (6).
As levels of pedestrian and bicyclist activity rise their per capita risk falls. Drivers adapt their behavior in the presence of increased cycling and walking (17).
I highly suggest you go read the rest of this website, as it is very well put together and very convincing.
Tags: bike crashes, blame, science, survey, toronto
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