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Sorry but this was not based on purely observational data. It appears the cyclists were fitted with tracking data so they new they were being tracked. Most people are going to behave better when they have a camera recording their actions.

Though this study is loads better than that craptacular self reported survey that y'all like to cite.

Driver knew too.

I agree that observational studies are limited. I propose a double blind study in which neither participants nor researchers know whether they are drivers or cyclists and do not know the local traffic laws that they are expected to follow.

"Neither participants nor researchers know whether they are drivers or cyclists"? I love this idea. "What the hell is this? Is this a car or a bicycle I'm travelling on? Or in?"

Young people are reckless in general. Collision rates tend to go down when teen licenses are restricted.

The other wrinkle in measuring scofflaws is that so few people actually know what is or isn't legal on a bicycle.

FWIW, the book Traffic, by Tom Vanderbilt, has a lengthy description of a study in which cars were heavily monitored. He reported that the effect of monitoring wore off rather quickly. That is, drivers fell back into sketchy driving behavior rather quickly.

One reason to believe these studies is that people are not that great at monitoring themselves. Even when they are trying to behave and think what they are doing is not overly dangerous, the data shows the opposite. People driving on freeways voluntarily look at their phones for many seconds at a time. I am personally convinced that historians will look back on the era of people driving cars and crashing into stuff, and people, with the sort of horror that we currently have for the age of chemical warfare.

"The study, commissioned by the Florida Department of Transportation, also found that

motorists and dangerous street design — not cyclist behavior — are the primary factors that put cyclists at risk."

I think it was around 20 years ago that the Toronto coroner's office did an indepth study of cyclist fatalities, and concluded that illegal behavior on the part of cyclists was a factor in less than 2% of fatal crashes. As I recall the final report had rather strong language criticizing enforcement campaigns against cyclists as a mis-use of police resources.

'This, however, was surprising "Male bicyclists showed a higher proportion of compliance than female bicyclists.""

Hmm, that sounds counterintuitive. Thoughts - A. maybe riders really DO Idaho to feel safer, and women are less comfortable out there, so Idaho more. B. Maybe low income/POC cyclists (even more male than upper middle class cyclists, I think) are more likely to be in compliance?

On the subject of being monitored and self-awareness: Many years ago when I owned a car, I decided to take part in the Progressive Snapshot program. You stick this tracking device to some port I didn't know existed and it tracks your speed vs time (but not GPS location), so it knows how fast and far you drive and how hard you brake. I was supposed to keep it in for like six months or something. I successfully learned to not speed excessively, to not follow closely, and to brake gradually. But the main thing it taught me was that I could transport myself in a lot of ways besides driving my car. They had me ship it back after 3 months ("OK, we've seen enough") and gave me the maximum 30% permanent insurance discount, but within a few years I just sold the car altogether. Thanks, Progressive!

"Which is not too surprising either.

There was one recorded collision. In that case, a motorist hit the bicyclist from behind as she waited to turn left. The crash occurred on a road with no bike lane or sidewalk, forcing the bicyclist to use the general travel lane. The study authors determined the cause of the crash was lack of bike infrastructure and driver error."

Unless there is a bridge for left turns I'm not sure how the lack of infrastructure contributed to this accident. Even with a bike lane you turn left from the middle of the roadway.

This points out one of the difficulties with assigning causality to accidents. Accidents are by their nature freak events. You could probably make a list of 100 things that could have prevented this accident if they had gone differently. If the cyclist had been literally anywhere else on the road other than where she was, she'd be alive today. A daytime flashing light on the bike might have saved her. A dedicated left turn only lane might have made the difference. A stop light with a left turn only interval. It's hard to pin a collision like this on just one factor.

'This, however, was surprising "Male bicyclists showed a higher proportion of compliance than female bicyclists.""

Hmm, that sounds counterintuitive. Thoughts - A. maybe riders really DO Idaho to feel safer, and women are less comfortable out there, so Idaho more. B. Maybe low income/POC cyclists (even more male than upper middle class cyclists, I think) are more likely to be in compliance?

In contrast, the study "Killed By Automobile" found that something like 90% of the time when a pedestrian or cyclist is killed in a collision with a car, the driver is a male. There is a strong correlation between driver aggression and lethality.

(The study also notes that this is only in cases where the driver is identified; roughly a third of fatal collisions are hit-and-runs where the driver is never identified.)

Contrarian

I usually make vehicular lefts from the middle of the roadway. There are places where I find that very uncomfortable - esp if there is no left turn lane, being in a through/left turn lane waiting for a left turn signal or a gap in traffic to enable a safe left, can mean being exposed to impatient drivers from the rear. Where speeds are high, drivers unaware of cyclists, visibility conditions poor, the better part of valor is often to make a box left instead. But absent a sidewalk or a bike lane, that's not possible. Without more info on the conditions, its hard for me to say how reasonable it is to think that providing the space for a box left (or a vehicular left from a bike box, which might have existed in conjunction with a bike lane) would have prevented the crash.

Contrarian

I usually make vehicular lefts from the middle of the roadway. There are places where I find that very uncomfortable - esp if there is no left turn lane, being in a through/left turn lane waiting for a left turn signal or a gap in traffic to enable a safe left, can mean being exposed to impatient drivers from the rear. Where speeds are high, drivers unaware of cyclists, visibility conditions poor, the better part of valor is often to make a box left instead. But absent a sidewalk or a bike lane, that's not possible. Without more info on the conditions, its hard for me to say how reasonable it is to think that providing the space for a box left (or a vehicular left from a bike box, which might have existed in conjunction with a bike lane) would have prevented the crash.

I was thinking that maybe women cyclists were riding on the sidewalk more - in places where that was illegal - because they perceived it as safer.

contratian, instead of turning left from the general travel lane, the cyclist could have performed a 2-stage turn (assuming it wasn't a T-intersection).

There's nothing wrong with left turns from the general lane, but there are indeed alternatives.

Two observations: One, I wear a camera and am more law abiding because of it. Two, the rate of compliance of drivers was only as to those interacting with the participants. So in both instances the numbers may be misleading.

Of course, none of this should be surprising to anyone who has followed the research on bicycle safety -- or this blog.

It's pretty much settled that:

1. Cyclists aren't particularly law-breaking.
2. Motorists aren't particularly law-abiding.
3. Cycling isn't particularly dangerous.
4. Sidewalks aren't particularly safe.
5. If bike lanes have an effect on cyclist safety, it's too small to be measured.
6. Ditto for helmets.

For drivers, I'm not sure what this measures. My unscientific observation is that every single driver exceeds the speed limit every time they drive. So, if they speed through a 25mph residential zone, endangering kids and everyone else, but then stop at the next light, they are in compliance with the law during the time they stop at the light. That does not mean that they are not reckless sociopaths behind the wheel.

When they speed up, slow down or are stuck in traffic. Also when they just naturally slow down. But I also wonder about distracted driving. I think it's making our roads less safe and killing people.

"bicyclists favored bike lanes or the sidewalk to riding in the general travel lane. "

IOW, consistent VC riding may be even more utopian a goal than Dutch quality infra everywhere.

"When there was a bike lane, bicyclists chose to ride in it 87 percent of the time, while 8.7 percent rode on sidewalk and 4.3 percent rode in the motor vehicle lane."

Best way to get riders off sidewalks (for their own benefit, and that of pedestrians) is to put in a bike lane. The 1% of strong and fearless, can still take the lane.

"The data seemed to show that the presence of bike lanes was a key factor [in close calls]: Five incidents happened when a bike lane was present and 14 occurred when there was no bike lane."

Not clear to me what this says about the dangers of bike lanes, without data to normalize. But yeah, there are lots of terrible bike lanes.


"Younger bicyclists (age 18–25) took significantly more risks than those in age groups 26–45 and 45+; younger bicyclists (age
18–25) were also significantly more likely to be distracted than mid-age bicyclists (age 26–45) and older bicyclists (age 45+). No older bicyclists (age 45+) were identified as “High Risk” or “High Distraction,” making them the safest group among all age groups."


Not surprising. This speaks to relative danger of biking - a LOT of the risk is young folks who are not cautious riders. Also points to the need for bike education in the schools.

"In general, bicyclists were more likely to choose less familiar routes for recreation purposes than for commuting and shopping purposes."

Not surprising either. Commuting I don't want to go somewhere where I will be delayed, because I get lost, or because I find the route too uncomfortable and need to bail to some way that is more comfortable.

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