Worth a read: 2005 Phoenix Bicycle Collision Summary

The City of Phoenix Street Transportation Department has an interesting report available on their website that summarizes bicycle/vehicle collisions for 2005. The 20 page report is full of statistics on things such as the demographics of bicycle collision victims, helmet usage, and timing of accidents.

The report summary:

In 2005…
…just over 28% of all bicyclists involved in crashes were children below the age of 18.
…the bicyclist was listed as the primary AT FAULT party twice as often as the motorist.
…there were 4 times more male bicyclists involved in crashes than female bicyclists.
…there were 107 bicyclists (22%) hit while riding on sidewalks.
…there were 17 crashes involving alcohol, 14 in which the bicyclists had been drinking and 3 in which the driver had been drinking.
…there were 85 hit and run collisions (which also may have been alcohol‐related) in which the vehicle left the scene.
…there were 367 bicyclists (75%) hit during the daytime and 120 bicyclists (25%) hit at night.

Some of these statistics are rather surprising – specifically, that bicyclists were found to be “at fault” for the collision twice as often as the motorist is counter to my experiences on the roads of Phoenix and surrounding areas. From the report, it is clear that there are way too many sidewalk and wrong-way riding cyclists out there so perhaps the statistics are biased by them? Or perhaps the cops tend to favor drivers over riders when determining fault?

I think it is also important to note that the report only takes into account police and ADOT data for accidents that involve injuries or significant property damage:

Collision data used for this report was obtained through Phoenix Police records and the database maintained by the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) known as ALISS (Accident Location Identification and Surveillance System).

The ALISS database includes crashes between bicycles and motor vehicles that occurred on public right of way where someone was injured or killed or where property damage exceeded $1000. Crashes that occurred on private property, or that did not involve injuries or significant property damage were not included. Bicycle falls or crashes on sidewalks or streets that did not involve a motor vehicle are similarly not included in the statewide ALISS crash database.

So, all those close calls and run-ins that every frequent cyclist is all too familiar with are not reflected in the city’s report.

On a positive note, the report indicates that bicycle/vehicle collisions are on the decline:

Although the 2005 crash totals are still much too high, they represent a 9% decline from the crash totals in 2004 and a 13% decline in injuries. It was also the lowest number of bicycle crashes since 1992.

I’m curious if the statistics for 2006 are consistent with this trend?

So, give the 2005 Phoenix Bicycle Collision Summary a read and let us know what you think of the statistics by leaving a comment.

Thanks to Rebecca for bring the report to our attention.

3 Replies to “Worth a read: 2005 Phoenix Bicycle Collision Summary”

  1. I’m not sure how frequently these reports are compiled and published, but they do provide at least a starting point for figuring out ways to improve safety for bicycles. I’ve been concerned about wrong-way riding for quite a while, but given the way that roads and intersections are constructed here, I’ll admit that I’m occasionally a culprit.

    I know that the published bicycle maps for the region include some safety information (and the city of Mesa, for example, has published a brochure entirely about wrong-way riding), but perhaps more strategic work on the matter would be helpful.

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