Last month, Marcia Deihl, a songwriter and association activist out for a bike ride on the aboriginal balmy day afterwards a barbarous winter, was addled and dead by a dump barter alfresco a Whole Foods in Cambridge, Massachusetts. A white “ghost bike” now memorializes her death.
Aspiring photojournalist Christopher Weigl, aloof 23, was additionally dead in a bike accident: Wearing a helmet, and traveling in the bike lane a Boston University, Weigl collided with a 16-wheel tractor bivouac aback the barter fabricated a advanced appropriate about-face in the winter of 2012.
And beneath than a year afore that, MIT alum apprentice Phyo N. Kyaw abiding baleful injuries aback his bike collided with a barter in a active Cambridge intersection.
These deaths happened aing to home: breadth I work, shop, ride with my kids. And they accentuate two truths: There are added cyclists on the road, and added of them are accepting aching in accidents, some fatal. The cardinal of commuters who bike to and from assignment rose about 62 percent civic from 2000 to 2013, one address found. With those numbers comes added risk: 726 bicyclists were dead and 49,000 bicyclists afflicted in 2012, according to the National Highway Traffic Assurance Administration.
As a driver, you don’t charge a assay abstraction to acquaint you that bikes are everywhere, whether you’re in Boston, New York or Seattle. But you do charge research, and data, to advice fix the botheration — that is, abate the cardinal of accidents and deaths.
Cities, towns, planners and clandestine businesses can’t move advanced architecture safer cars and safer bike environments until they apprentice added actually how bike accidents happen. Is a truck’s advanced about-face to blame? A auto aperture aperture at the amiss time? These acutely baby capacity of crashes are critical, says Anne Lusk, a assay scientist in the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health.
That’s why Lusk and her colleagues accept issued a adapt of sorts for convalescent bike-vehicle blast letters produced by the police; their allegation are appear this anniversary in the account Abrasion Prevention.
After belief hundreds of hopelessly low-tech badge letters acclimated to almanac bike accidents, Lusk and her colleagues are authoritative a civic plea: They’re calling on badge in all states to footfall into the avant-garde era and advance letters on crashes involving cartage and bicycles. Currently, Lusk said in an interview, the capacity on crashes are handwritten and fatigued by badge on paper, with few bicycle-specific codes or diagrams.
Lusk offered one example: Currently, a blast address from Massachusetts shows “two vehicles” drawn. One of the “vehicles” is again coded as a “pedal cyclist” but there is no cartoon on the arrangement of a bike to appearance which ancillary of the bike was hit.
Police accept been recording bike crashes aback the addition of the bike in 1890, advisers note.
Now it’s time for a above upgrade. Lusk says badge should “use cyberbanking tablets with dropdown airheaded that accept specific vehicle/bicycle codes, for instance, whether the bicyclist was benumbed central a corrective bike lane aback hit, or whether the cyclist crashed into a driver’s accessible car door. The dropdown card would additionally accommodate added specific abstracts like a coded agent account and a coded bike picture. This advice could again be automatically loaded assimilate spreadsheets for after analysis, Lusk said.
We’ve got self-driving cars and countless bike-related technologies — from GPS to Fitbit — Lusk said, “but until this, there’s been no addition of a systematic, abominable abstruse apparatus for badge to certificate bicycle-vehicle crashes.
“The ambition here,” Lusk added, “is to advance the world’s best database for vehicle/bicycle crashes. With acceptable data, the ambiance could me fabricated safer for car drivers and for cyclists.” This, in turn, could animate added biking, with all of the accompanying bloom and ecology benefits.
“This is a big deal,” Joshua Zisson, a Boston advocate who specializes in bike-related cases and runs BikeSafeBoston, a website about bike law, said in an email. “The proposed changes would accomplish a huge aberration in free what happened in a crash, and who was at fault. In the three years aback I started my bike practice, I’ve apparent hundreds of badge letters anecdotic bike vs. motor agent crashes, and I would alone accede a scattering of them to be able-bodied accounting and appropriately descriptive. The majority ambit from bad to actually abominable (i.e., too vague, too brief, ailing illustrated, not illustrated). Giving admiral bigger accoutrement to call a blast with a bike will about absolutely acquiesce them to do a bigger job, as they won’t accept to force their description of contest into a framework advised for cars.”
The abstraction was paid for by Nissan, the car company. Lusk responded: “Nissan appropriate that what was actual accessible for them as a car architect was to accept abstracts to explain crashes with bicyclists…this was not about accountability at all. The sole cold is convalescent safety, for the accord of apperception for the disciplinarian as able-bodied as the cyclist. No disciplinarian wants to aching or annihilate a bicyclist. The barter drivers who annihilate bicyclists alive with that for the blow of their lives. How can we abate or annihilate that burden? That barter disciplinarian never capital to annihilate that woman advancing out of Whole Foods. Can this blast advertisement abate the risk? Yes.”
Here are added specifics from the Harvard School of Public Bloom account release:
The advisers advised badge blast address arrangement forms from 50 states and the Model Minimum Uniform Blast Criteria (MMUCC) template. Lusk and her colleagues abstruse that the forms asked for few capacity about bicycles. What’s more, the advisers suggested improvements that could be fabricated apropos blast diagrams. Cartage are fatigued like two rectangles aition but a bike is like a band that can blast into an opened aperture or a mirror.
To actuate which bicycle-crash-scene codes should be advised for an cyberbanking tablet, the researchers called 300 vehicle/bicycle crashes that included diagrams out of 3,350 vehicle-bicycle blast letters in the New York Burghal breadth in 2011. An according cardinal of crashes were selected for streets after bike infrastructure, with sharrows, with corrective bike lanes, and with barrier-protected aeon tracks.
The advisers redrew all 300 crashes application Google artery views and the badge address argument and diagrams. New codes were developed and these new abstracts points about anniversary blast were entered into the absolute spreadsheet for all of the crashes. Because the current spreadsheet includes if the bicyclist had a accessory or astringent injury, a test, with minor injuries as the control, was able to be conducted to appraise the amount of accepting these new bicycle-crash-scene variables. If bike variables were entered into the absolute blast arena spreadsheet, other advisers could additionally analyze accessory and astringent abrasion of bicyclists in the altered road environments.
Pete Stidman, controlling administrator of the Boston Cyclist’s Union, said this burghal is way advanced of abounding others aback it comes to abstracts on bike crashes. For instance, the accumulation has been alive to actualize its own adaptation of an alternate blast map that uses blast abstracts from the group’s accord with the Boston Breadth Assay Initiative (BARI), the Boston Badge Department and others. BARI’s accepted map can be acclimated to actuate which genitalia of boondocks are best dangerous; but Stidman says the Bike Union’s map will accept added break on injuries and what is causing the crashes.
Lusk, of Harvard, says the absolute blast map abstracts helps to appearance that, for example, “Massachusetts Avenue is not safe aloof afore the bridge. The map from the burghal of Boston additionally shows that the Western Avenue aeon clue is the safest abode to bike in Boston.”
Such bounded advice is advantageous because it credibility to breadth changes in the ambiance could help, she says, but the bigger blast letters that she proposes would do more:
The abstracts that would be generated application our anew appropriate assorted codes (that would be entered into the blast spreadsheet) would accommodate far added capacity about anniversary alone crash. Then, agnate to the array of crashes in the blast map assuming a pattern, assay could be conducted with our anew proposed abstracts to appearance that, as one example, bicyclists generally blast into the opened aback car aperture of a taxi. The advocacy could again be to accept taxis that are vans with sliding doors…
We had capital this to be blast abstracts bearing that is universally activated beyond the U.S. Then, assay could be conducted as a allegory application abstracts from a burghal and a rural community. Assay could additionally be conducted application abstracts from all crashes beyond the U.S.
Our assay is but one footfall against accepting far added abundant vehicle/bicycle blast abstracts and accepting it readily accessible for analysis.
Readers, bikers, do you anticipate this will help? Any added accompanying proposals out there? Let us know.
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