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Inspiring EVERYONE to Ride

November 21st, 2015 | Author: Dale Rabideau
Category: Community | Tags: , , , ,

In my opinion, Omaha Bikes needs to follow Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition‘s approach to inspire everyone to ride. This requires me to read and listen to others’ experience that is different from mine. I need to put myself in their shoes if I want to better understand their view and their ideas. Their view and ideas may be disconcerting to me but necessary to feel some of their emotion and rationale for their response to life and death events. If Omaha Bikes wants to put into action for all our mission to “promotes and advocates for bicycling infrastructure, opportunities, and experiences for the people of Omaha, Nebraska and the surrounding area”, empathy is a first step. Dale

I quote in its entirety the Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition’s November 20, 2015 facebook post:

“Last night we thanked our amazing volunteers and members and looked toward the future. We also recognized the enormity of the moment our city is in after the tragic shooting of Jamar Clark. This is a moment fundamentally to advance justice and make a stronger and more meaningful commitment to addressing racial disparities. Local organizers of color are giving us actions and ideas for addressing these real challenges facing too many in our community. We hope that everyone will take this moment to truly listen to those ideas.

We work to inspire people to bike and for a Minneapolis where EVERYONE feels comfortable riding. We do that because we know that the bicycle can be a powerful tool to improve individual’s lives and our community. And we do that while understanding that bicycling intersects with many other issues, including those at the fore of protests along Plymouth Avenue at the 4th Precinct.

Work to advance bicycling in Minneapolis simply cannot be successful if we do not serve the needs of all our diverse communities. We cannot be successful if we leave behind, ignore, or do not serve communities of color. We cannot be successful if we ignore concerns that both fear of crime and fears of police racial profiling and brutality are barriers to more biking.

We are not shy in saying that the status quo can and needs to be improved for many things that impact biking. There can be no doubt that police conduct and community relations can and must be improved and that will require change. There can be no doubt that the disparities between black community members (and other communities of color) and white community members in our city are unacceptable and addressing them will require change.

We are committed to proactively doing what we can within our work around biking to address racial disparities, institutional racism, and injustices. We know that biking is only a small part of a much larger body of work that touches all parts of government and society, but we know that biking can play a role. At this challenging time, we hope that our community will come together like never before to advance justice and opportunity for all.

For more on the intersection of these complex issues, we recommend this piece from last year from Adonia Lugo, a national leader on the bicycling and equity issues.”

Seeing & Believing In Bike Equity

Do Riders, Walkers, or Drivers have Lowest Traffic Death Rate?

November 19th, 2015 | Author: Dale Rabideau
Category: News | Tags: ,

speed kills people walking, riding, and driving

speed kills people walking, riding, and driving


Nebraska Bicycling Alliance put out a press release Wednesday, Nov 18 on AAA Nebraska’s report of the high number of people walking and riding bicycles that have been killed so far in 2015: 16 walking and 4 riding. The last time we reached this number of people killed riding in Nebraska was in 2001 with 5.
One death is one too many and I believe every person who rides on the streets and roads is sensitized and occassionally feels in danger of being hit by a motor vehicle. I think most would agree that the perceived lack of safety when riding a bicycle amongst motor vehicles is the biggest hinderance to more people riding.

I decided to look at the Nebraska traffic statistics from 10 years, 2005-14, and get a better feel for the likelyhood of death by collision while riding a bicycle. Here is the webpage where the data is located, e.g. the 2014 annual report was read along with the corresponding year end fatality toll comparisons.

Over the 10 years, there were a total of 333,335 crashes and 2251 deaths. Of these, there were 3570 crashes involving pedestrians and 95 deaths; and 2702 crashes involving bicycles and 16 deaths. Thus, the 16 pedestrian deaths this year are 1.68 times the 10 year average; while the 4 rider deaths this year is 2.5 times the 10 year average. Hopefully, there are data in the police reports about the environment and causes that would help explain this year’s death rate aberation.

The crashes involving bicycles account for 0.81% of the total. If we had an estimate of the total number of bike rides on the road versus the total number of motor vehicle trips, we could see how the bicycle mode share percentage compares against the crash percentage, and thus determine if we are more likely to get into a crash with a bicycle or motor vehicle. Not having this data keeps us from determing which mode of movement is least likely to be involved in a crash.

The death rate per bicycle crash is 0.59%, about 1 death in 169 crashes. This sounds high, but we must remember that these are police reported bicycle crashes. Crashes not reported would lower this death/crash rate whereas we can assume that all traffic deaths involving a bicycle are reported.

The death/crash rate for people in a motor vehicle is 0.64%, about 1 death in 156 crashes (total crashes/(total deaths – (bicycle and pedestrian deaths))). Thus, the data reveal a person is more likely to die in a crash riding a motor vehicle than riding a bicycle. The caveat here is that the data are describing different crashes – the person(s) in the motor vehicle die(s) at a non bicycle crash.

On the surface, these data seem counterintuitive. My guess is that the speed of the non bicycle, motor vehicle crash is higher; coupled with the ‘first harmful event’ which caused the crash, e.g. over 90% of deadly crashes involved vehicle on vehicle, overturned, and fixed objects. I am guessing more bicycle crashes are on lower speed streets. Another part of the cause may be the ‘perceived safety’ of a motor vehicle encourages one to drive faster and less carefully.

To bring our intuition in line with the data, we should increase our ‘perceived safety’ of riding by improving our skills via Cycling Savvy or LCI classes; lower our feeling of safety riding a motor vehicle (tank syndrome), and drive more carefully.

The highest death rate per crash is for pedestrians, 2.66% or about 1 death in 38 crashes. Because we walk so much in non roadways, that gives us the perception that walking is safe, but that peception needs to be replace with non distracted awareness of our surroundings when walking on sidewalks and streets.

As thinking individuals, we need to employ a better frame of mind in order to engage our fellow travelers more skillfully no matter which mode of movement we choose.

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