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Thread: Proposed New Forum Topic: Crashes, Accidents and Incidents

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    Default Proposed New Forum Topic: Crashes, Accidents and Incidents

    Having looked through the Forum for a while now I have not found any one place where accidents and incidents involving cyclists are consolidated. With an "Accidents and Incidents" topic users would have one place to report and update cyclist related events. Accidents (Or more correctly Crashes) could include any event involving a cyclist and another vehicle or pedestrian. Incidents could include harassment of cyclists by drivers or pedestrians, and other events that are not crash/accident related. Sub folders by location: i.e. Alexandria, Arlington, NW, SE, etc, would help to sort the events geographically. Someone with good coding skills (not me) could flag each incident onto a map so users could track where events are most frequent, letting cyclists know extreme caution is advised.

    Has this been proposed before? Is there some other reason the forum doesn't have one location to list all of these events?

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    Write up a short introduction paragraph like the other sub-categories have and I'll create it. Probably just stick to VA, MD and DC for the geographic sub folders though.

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    Good idea, BUT it should have a caveat for those in a crash that they need to be very careful about sharing too much information on the forum, and a link to WABA's "what to do after a crash". I always see it recommended to only post the basics online when you've been in a crash, since the driver/other cyclist could use this information against the cyclist in court or during the insurance claims process.

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    With the cold weather, frost and ice coming up, we need a " I Fell on My ___ on the MVT Wooden Bridges" sub-thread. Less of a risk of adverse liability issues as well.

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    dasgeh is offline Queen of Family Biking & All Things Kidical
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    Please, #crashnotaccident.

    "Crashes, close calls, and incidents" makes sense to me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dasgeh View Post
    Please, #crashnotaccident.
    +1

    ​I have long believed that what local bike advocacy groups are lacking is hard data. If we're to make any headway with the legal/policy side of our arguments, we should have real numbers that illustrate what we all suspect and can't prove -- that the penalties for conflicts between vehicles and cyclists are usually paltry and lame, and do nothing to change driver awareness and behavior.

    After Tom Palermo's death last year, I proposed to WABA that they should have a case tracker database that follows up on every crash/incident reported to them. Statistics on the final outcomes -- court convictions and sentences, civil suits, whether or not someone's driver's license was revoked or restricted -- ​​​could be tallied over time, and the rollup would likely paint an indisputable picture.

    Although I think the WABA leadership was 100% with me philosophically, I was told my proposal would require legal research and staff time -- ballpark $20k/year -- that they just couldn't afford at the time. Grants and other funding possibilities are minimal. What they're left with is their Crash Tracker database that mostly collects anecdotal evidence.

    I'm not against putting up a new forum topic that collects more anecdotes, and separates those from other threads. Agree a public forum is probably NOT the place to post details about conflicts that are reported to authorities or go through any insurance / court process -- but those should absolutely be reported through Crash Tracker.

    I'd love to hear ideas about how to close the gap, and turn stories into data that could actually help the cause.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ginacico View Post
    After Tom Palermo's death last year, I proposed to WABA that they should have a case tracker database that follows up on every crash/incident reported to them. Statistics on the final outcomes -- court convictions and sentences, civil suits, whether or not someone's driver's license was revoked or restricted -- ​​​could be tallied over time, and the rollup would likely paint an indisputable picture.
    I agree with you that this is needed, but it strikes me as something the government (DC, Arlington, etc) should be doing. If it's done through an advocacy organization, it's almost certainly going to have gaps.

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    PotomacCyclist is offline I spend all day thinking about bikes and talking to people on the internet about them.
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    Such a project would have to be done by a larger organization or even a government agency, but there would be funding issues with government too. Maybe a transportation or safety organization could have interns track this as part of an ongoing project. It could provide solid research experience for the students/graduates too.

    Do groups like the League of American Bicyclists track this? Probably not, because this would be time-consuming and costly for them too. Maybe a larger group that isn't exclusively focused on cycling but is concerned about general health and safety? If such an organization could modify existing data-collection projects, that would be easier than starting up an entirely new project from scratch. But those other groups may not be as motivated to devote resources if the project focuses primarily on cyclist injuries and deaths.

    Many more pedestrians are killed in car collisions/incidents each year, compared to cyclist deaths. So maybe a good approach would be to work with/through groups that focus on pedestrian safety. I doubt anyone is tracking all the stats and updates nationwide because there are over 4,700 pedestrian fatalities every year. A locally focused database wouldn't have nearly as many incidents and cases to track.

    How many cases? I have no idea. According to my back-of-the-envelope calculations (with a wide margin of error):

    Nationwide: ~4,700 pedestrian traffic deaths, ~740 cyclist traffic deaths
    I don't know the exact number of serious injuries, but I've read that those can be even greater in number than the death count. For the sake of this simplistic calculation, I'll say it's the same number. So 4,700 serious but non-fatal pedestrian injuries, 740 serious but non-fatal cyclist injuries.

    Total cases, 9,400 pedestrian cases, 1,580 cyclist cases. About 11,000 total, nationwide.

    The DC area has about 6 million people, depending on which areas you include. That's about 1.8% of the total U.S. population. I think DC death rates are actually lower than average but the rate of traffic crashes/incidents is slightly higher. I'll just assume the traffic incident rate is roughly the same as the U.S. overall. So 1.8% of the 11,000 number total is about 200 cases.

    In other words, I'm guessing/calculating/estimuh-mating that there are about 200 of these cases, including pedestrians and cyclists. The number of cases involving cyclists would be much lower. Maybe 25-30? I know all these calculations are inexact but I just wanted to get a ballpark figure here. I think it's safe to say that the actual number will be in the range of 15-100, not in the hundreds.

    But that would be 25-30 new cases a year, plus ongoing tracking of previous cases. How long should these cases be tracked? The longer the time period, the more work required.

    Just some preliminary thoughts about this.

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    PotomacCyclist is offline I spend all day thinking about bikes and talking to people on the internet about them.
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    Quote Originally Posted by dasgeh View Post
    I agree with you that this is needed, but it strikes me as something the government (DC, Arlington, etc) should be doing. If it's done through an advocacy organization, it's almost certainly going to have gaps.
    I agree for the most part. But I think there is going to be some pushback, perhaps from some groups like AAA Mid-Atlantic or exurban jurisdictions, about tracking these cases in such detail. There are already other hot-topic issues of public safety where certain groups have basically blocked government agencies from tracking public health and safety issues when they perceive a threat to particular rights or interests.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ginacico View Post
    ballpark $20k/year
    IMO, this task would be a more productive expenditure than many other activities/projects that are presently funded by "bike dollars" (both in governments and outside advocacy organizations). Something else could be cut.

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