Analysis of Bike-Related Incidents in Long Beach 2002-2011

A report from Long Beach Bike:

Says that Bicyclists are statistically at fault more of the time over drivers, but drivers are not far behind.

I hope that the following statement doesn't simply reinforce the self-righteousness of those who are compelled to always defend those behind the motor.
According to the Long Beach data about 45% of the bike related accidents in the city are caused by the bicyclist (35% are driver related and 20% undetermined).
An analysis of Long Beach traffic accident data since 2002 has revealed five leading causes that make up more than 80 percent of all automobile-bicycle incidents:
  1.   Bicyclist riding on the wrong side of the road against oncoming traffic;
  2.   Bicyclist making an unpredictable and hazardous move (e.g., darts in front of a moving vehicle);
  3.   Bicyclist running a stop light or stop sign;
  4.   Motorist running a stop light or stop sign; or
  5.   Motorist making a right or left turn in front of a moving bicycle.
"Bicyclists riding on the wrong side":  it would be nice to see the geographical breakdown of these incidents.  I see a ton riding on the wrong side on PCH in West Long Beach.

The fact that "making hazardous road moves" causes many accidents is unfortunate but not surprising;  my philosophy is to make every move "expected" by drivers, which is why I love the 4th Street sign that says "Bikes May Use Full Lane."

But the accidents are not all at the feet of bicyclists.

 There are a substantial amount of accidents actually caused by the driver:
"...over 40% of these accidents are categorized as either Auto Right-of-way violation or Pedestrian Right-of Way violation.  In other words the driver pulled in front of the bicyclists (I’m implying here that when the report refers to pedestrian..they in fact are referring to the bicyclist).  
Another 15% is related to improper turning. And finally 12% is related to running a stop light or stop sign.
The single biggest cause of driver caused accidents is making right turns and in the process cutting of the bicyclist.
So far for me in Long Beach, I've experienced one incident on bike that was the fault of a driver:  getting doored by a stopped pick-up on the driver's-side at an intersection on 4th Street. The driver stopped his car at an intersection, and unexpectedly threw his door open making me swerve left and crash on the road.

'Bike-friendly, eh?' I was thinking.

Nothing really happened to my body or bike.  I didn't get hurt too badly. He did acknowledge it was his fault and asked if I was OK. 

Now what we need is a comparison between Long Beach and LA and another biking hotbed to see how we match up.


Alstone said...

The City of Santa Monica released a report perhaps a year ago that described some of the heated exchanges at a recent city council meeting between bicycle advocates and others.

The city council called the problem "cultural" which stuck with me. In this context, it means that we bike riders and motorists don't always share expectations of who has the right-of-way or who should go first at an intersection, etc.

The city council have begun a public education program (perhaps not officially, but I see it in the city's newsletter for residents). This education describes many things such as driving on the wrong side of the road (or in the wrong direction) as items that bicyclists can be ticketed for. So, that's a good line in the sand, helps me ride in a manner than is more harmonized with the expectations of drivers too.

When we all learn how to dance together things will approve. I agree with their referencing this issue as "cultural."

Brian J. Delas Armas said...

I agree that it's a "cultural" problem. There are many who have built their adult "way of life" on just driving or operating some type of motorized vehicle (including myself).

I'm all for public education of bicyclists, but I think if were really going to shift things, we'd have to educate drivers themselves that let them know bicyclists belong on the road. Thank the deity that be that I haven't been hit or anything, but the deity knows that I've endured plenty of honkers, passive-aggressive utter offers.