An article in the Post yesterday focused on the rising number of cyclists in DC and how
Authorities and advocates alike are struggling to keep up with a crowd of riders whose skills range from expert to novice in an already congested city.
I know the line about "congested" is added in their for effect, but in general, cycling reduces congestion. Anyway on to the factoids
According to rush-hour counts conducted in 20 intersections throughout the city each year by the District Department of Transportation, bike traffic during those peak times surged an average of 20.7 percent from 2010 to 2011, with 7,113 total bikes moving through those intersections. Nearly 25 percent of those riders weren’t wearing helmets, according to count data.
Compared with overall ridership, the actual number of reported collisions is small, but anecdotal evidence suggests that the problem is much bigger. Police have logged 829 reported bicycle collisions in the District in that time frame.
Since Bikeshare’s inception, 20 collisions have been reported by people using the system, a small number when one considers that 93,082 Bikeshare trips were taken in the District in January alone. But when crashes do happen, injury rates are high— two-thirds of bike accidents injured one or more people involved, according to police data.
WABA has collected some data showing that crashes are underreported, which is pretty obvious and true of driving and walking too.
They cite examples of cyclists getting erroneous tickets for not wearing a helmet or riding abreast when no other cyclist is around, which an MPD spokesman said was indicative of a need for more training.
“The most important thing we can do is to educate both the motoring public and the biking community about the laws,” Crump said.
Personally, I've been impressed with MPD lately and their efforts to improve. They send representatives to the BAC meetings. They're engaged and follow up on emails. They're working with WABA on some initiatives. There's every sign that more training is going on. And I get that there are a lot of laws to know and a lot of opportunities to get them wrong. So, I think right now the status is that things are not where they should be yet, but MPD appears to be moving in the right direction.