The Chainlink

"A cycle route is judged based on its weakest point and people will not get out of their cars and onto their bikes if they do not feel that they have a safe route to follow … Instead, the quality of the route is often sacrificed to minimize the perceived impact on car users. This results in the route being unattractive to potential new users and therefore not likely to generate modal shift.”

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I ride a lot on Foster Avenue. 

Is it two lanes for cars in each direction, or is it one lane for cars alongside a parking lane?

There are small stretches that have 'No Parking' signs, but the vast majority is one lane of traffic and curbside parking.

There seems to be a perception by some that cycling was more safe back in the 70s because we didn't have bike lanes. This is not true. While the number had been slowly decreasing, it is now on the rise again because there are more cars on the streets. 

1975 – 1979 – 932.6 = Average # of Cycling Fatalities
1980-1989 – 889.4 = Avg
1990-1999 – 791.5 = Avg
2000-2009 702.5 = Avg
2010-2012 674.3 = Avg

Where did this drop come though?

I looked at the ages of the riders first -comparing data for riders under the age of 20 and over 20. I broke this data down by decade in the chart below.

From 1975-1979 these younger cyclists made up a whopping 80% of all cycling fatalities… then… as we know… time goes on and kids ride less and less … and adults ride more and more in the next big bike boom… and the stats reflect this – kids under 20 accounted for 80% of the cyclist deaths in the 70’s, 60% in the 80s, 41% of fatalities in the 90s and only 25% since 2000 Of course, that means deaths of riders over the age of 20 have risen significantly, from 20% of the total in the 1970s to 75% of those killed today. The average age of the cyclist killed today is over 40.

The “worst” year in these records was 1975, when 1003 cyclists were killed. However, 80% of those were kids. Today, MANY more [2+x more] adult cyclists are killed than during that “worst” year of 1975 – some 600 cyclists killed in 2012 compared to 212 in 1975.

That bottom line, though, is still tough to see – more than 30,000 bicycle riders killed on our nation’s roads since 1975

More reading:

Thanks for sharing. Hasn't CDOT come out with anything since 2012? 

I think there was work done on a 2010-2015 bike-ped combined report, but I don't know if it was finished.

I provided this data in answer to the "good old days" argument that we were all fine before bike lanes came to be. The stats tell a different story. We weren't all fine, people did die back then too. 

Sorry, Yasmeen, but one can't draw any conclusions from looking at fatality counts. Rates are useful. Counts are not. Do we know the number of miles traveled in the various decades? How they compared to the miles today?

That's also a false flag, because part of the problem is the refusal to look at exposure from a global level, so fatalities and census data (and local counts) are all you have to look at.

'Don't know why this site won't allow me to edit my posts.

Also, I really doubt fatalities are on the rise because there are more cars on the street. There were more cars on the street each year in the 80's, 90's, 00's, and early 10's. There was a brief dip during the Great Recession ('09 - '10). My hunch would be that there's more distracted driving in the past few years.

I agree with you on the distracted drivers. It's a huge problem now but aside from driving under the influence, previous decades didn't have to worry about people texting while driving.

The biggest contribution to the decline in deaths for riders under 20 is very likely bike helmets. Growing up in the 70's, we rode our bikes everywhere. A helmet? Never crossed out minds. Today it's rare to see a young person ride without a helmet.

Keep in mind that the fatality count includes bike deaths not involving collision with a vehicle. Falling off a bike and hitting ones' head on the pavement could easily result in a fatality.


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