Bike Crashes in Hampton Roads: Who’s to Blame?

Who’s to blame for bike crashes? Motorists blame cyclists, and vice versa — or at least the medie portrays it that way.

If we have to take the “controversy” angle, it’s nice to see this levelheaded article from the Virginian Pilot, along with a Google Map showing bike crashes in Hampton Roads, 2008-2012.

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4 comments… add one
  • Near as I can figure, these stats don’t correct for children on bikes. Major problem right there as they are usually a nice chunk of the collisions. It’s not terribly clear from the article, nor am I seeing this info– if it is there, please point it out… The few studies I’ve seen that make this correction tend to place about 80% of the accidents as driver fault.

  • Kirk: a lot of crashes are caused by adults riding like children — against traffic, on sidewalks across driveways, etc., where drivers don’t see them. The behavior is what matters, not the age of the cyclist.

  • admin: you completely miss the point. The presence of children in bicycle/car accident stats regularly skews the stats, quite badly. Of course cyclists are responsible for some car/bike collisions, but I bet the numbers are far lower once you remove kids from the numbers. Look deeper.

    There’s only a couple of cases I’m aware of where the statistics have been presented in such a way you can remove the children. In both cases, once children were removed from accident totals, driver liability soared.

    You say a lot of crashes are caused by “childish” cyclists. Okay, how many? Do the numbers seperate out actual children? No? If they do not, you can not read much into these numbers. Even assuming every single cyclist responsible for a collison was riding childishly (big assumption), you still have a majority of these collisions as driver responsiblity. Are the drivers then “childish?”

    Imagine if 9 year olds were driving cars. Now imagine their outsize effect on accident stats, even if their numbers are much lower. I would say age makes quite a bit of difference. It’s quite apparent in car crashes, for instance, with or without a bike involved. I’d treat these numbers with suspiscion until this matter is clearer.

  • Similar to Kirk I’m interested in the breakdown of the numbers. In addition to children as he queried, what about differentiating between recreational riders and those riders on roadbikes with specific gear that ride along with vehicle traffic. As you might expect, I’m one of the latter. Although I freely admit to unfortunately witnessing roadbike riders make poor decisions, most of us are very aware of the rules of the road since we need to be for our safety. Sure there are some drivers who are immature and yell things like, “Get on the sidewalk!” But there are also those that are very courteous. Building specific bicycle lanes is expensive (get a quote on a driveway and you’ll know). As a taxpayer and cyclist, I’d rather see funds used to educate ALL in the area. Drivers and cyclists (parents of child riders) need to know the laws. Drivers need to differentiate between children riding in their neighborhoods, adults in flip-flops (or no shoes) riding a beach cruiser on Atlantic avenue and a serious rider manuevering traffic on VB Blvd. If this tourist area wants to change its image regarding cyclists it has a far way to go.

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