Friday, January 25, 2013

WABA releases mobile app for reporting crashes

On January 22 WABA released their first mobile app, The WABA Crash Help Kit for iPhone and Android which allows cyclists to enter pertinent information regarding a bike crash. See the WABA blog post about the app, the GGW post, and one from DCist (thanks to WashCycle for the references).

As you can see from the image on the right, the app contains 9 main sections: Report Accident, Modify Old Report, Personal Information, Emergency Information, Safety Tips, The Bike Laws (DC only), Emergency Light, Expense Tracker, and About WABA.

Here's a description from the iTunes WABA Crash Help Kit app page:


Use the Washington Area Bicyclist Association mobile app to accurately record information at the scene of a bicycle crash and reference current Washington, D.C. bike laws.

1. Record important crash data using your phone's camera, voice recorder, and an in-app text notepad and drawing pad.
2. Automatically add your street location to crash reports using GPS.
3. Email crash reports to yourself and WABA, or provide a crash report to a victim as a witness.
4. Look up D.C.'s bicycling laws and common enforcement errors.
5. Call 911, a taxi or car service.
6. Store personal information, like ownership records for multiple bicycles.
7. Locate a nearby hospital, police station or bike shop.
8. Use an emergency flashlight.
9. Learn more about WABA.
The main section is Report Accident. You can enter Driver Information, Witness Information (2 witnesses), Injured Information, and Police Information. You can also enter the crash location using the phone's GPS. You can then enter Road Condition, Light Condition, and Weather Condition. You can enter Personal and Bicycle information, and record various media: photos, audio, notes, and drawings.

The bike laws currently only cover DC. WABA wants to include MD and VA laws but needs to get them into the proper format. According to Shane Farthing of WABA, "Adding VA and MD laws to the app would require a review of our existing web content for correctness and completeness, as well as substantial reworking to fit the app format." There's also the complication of dealing with laws in local jurisdictions. The next version of the Bike Laws section will likely only include VA and MD statewide laws.

Can you report a crash in Fairfax? Absolutely. According to Shane, "We want all the reports we can get regionwide." I've downloaded the app and hope that I don't ever have to use it. If I do, I'll be able to gather all the info needed to document the crash. Thanks to WABA for making this resource available.

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Wouldn't it be nice to have a report harassment button too? Incidents that don't rise to the level of a crash are nonetheless an indicator of bad bicycle/car interaction areas. To have solid stats on that would be useful for any advocacy organization.

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