2008 Bike Involved Collisions in Los Angeles

The streets with the most bike collisions in 2008
The streets with the most bike collisions in 2008

Earlier this month we released a preliminary report from LAPD’s Sergeant Krumer about the bike involved collisions in 2008.  Krumer has finalized that report.  You can download the report here, or view it below.  I suggest clicking “full” so you’ll be able to read it better.  There’s definitely some good stuff that has been added since the previous report, so I recommend checking it out (download):

I’ve perused the report a bit, and I think there’s some interesting data there – I’m looking forward to analysis of this data by others in the bike community.  Josef Bray-Ali, this means you!

As many know, the City doesn’t do bike counts.  In lieu of bike counts from the city, accident data serves as a kind of grim proxy.  For instance, check out the data for month of accident, on slide 15.  It shows bike accidents growing in the summer, and declining in the winter, as does riding.

On the other hand, there’s reasons why it’s not a good proxy.  For example, accident rates in Europe are sometimes 6 times lower.  So, we could easily double the number of riders in LA, but make riding so much safer that absolute accident rates go down.  That’s one reason LADOT should be doing a bike count right now, in advance of adoption of any proposed bike plan.  Without an accurate, comprehensive, and accepted bike count done by a government agency, it will be hard to infer much from other bike data.

Sergeant Krumer added an interesting chart which shows that 38% of collisions in LA were hit & run in LA in 2008.  As we reported earlier, 23% of bike involved collisions are hit and run.  I take away two things from that.  First, we’re actually at less risk for hit and run, when you ignore our injuries.  However, if you look at how cyclists fair in collisions, you see that 7.0% of (reported) collisions result in severe injury or death.  For non-cyclists, that rate is 3.2%.  Cyclists have a lot more to fear from a collision.

Second, hit and run is a city wide epidemic affecting ALL THE CITIZENS OF LA – motorists, children, pedestrians, cyclists, elderly, healthy, studly, and slimy – we are all in danger.  38% of collisions are hit and run!!  That’s nearly 2 in 5.  That is bananas, and it represents sociopathy in a lot of people out there on the road.

That means we have a common cause with all road users in addressing hit and run.  Let’s include everyone in the solution.

Alex Thompson

Bikerowave co-founder, Cyclists' Bill of Rights co-author, President of Bikeside, and Math Phd. HULK SMASH straight from Michigan!

6 thoughts on “2008 Bike Involved Collisions in Los Angeles

  1. Thanks for posting this Alex – two other things that stood out in quickly looking at this:
    1. It looks like there’s a fairly clear temporal pattern as well – we see collisions rise during the morning (morning rush hour), dip a little, then peak again from roughly 3 pm to 7 pm. So that could tell us two things: That they’re more cars on the road at that hour (increasing the likelihood of collisions) and that they’re more bikes on the road at that hour (people going to/from work).
    2. The first that stood out to me was the fact that it’s Vermont and Western that see the most accidents (of course, what would be awesome would be to figure out what parts of Vermont, Western, or any of the other streets). From my brief time living near Vermont/Beverly, I have no trouble believing that those two streets saw the most crashes.

    But after all of this, I’m left with the desire to know more! For example:
    1. Do we have any more information about where these accidents take place? Can we use that to identify particularly dangerous stretches statistically (rather than through word-of-mouth)?
    2. Can we figure out the socio-economic breakdown of crashes? I think there’s a major social equity dimension to the call for more biking infrastructure, and I’d be really curious to see what kinds of riders are most vulnerable.

    Thanks again for putting up the document – score one for communication!

  2. Interesting and sad data… thanks for getting it out and for your analysis. In the absence of bike counts, I’ve been wondering what, if anything, is a reasonable proxy for bike activity. As you mention the safety in numbers factor can offset accidents as a proxy… but what about bike theft? Does the 30% rise is bike theft roughly correspond with a 30% increase in bicycling? or would there be other factors offsetting that, too?

    Need more count data? I guess we’ll see some from LACBC’s count someday soooon?

  3. I’d be interested in knowing what % of drivers involved in collisions are uninsured and the overall uninsured driver rate.

    Are uninsured drivers more likely to split after a collision? Are they more or less likely to cause an accident?

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