Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Bike crashes in Fairfax County up 26%

2010 Fairfax Co Bike Crash Map
There were 106 reportable crashes involving bicyclists in 2012. That's an increase of 26% over 2011 when there were 84 reportable crashes. There were 86 crashes in 2010. We think the increase may be due in part because more people are cycling. We don't know since there is no formal bicycle count program in Fairfax. FABB has conducted some volunteer counts that show a significant increase in ridership since 2008 at one location.

PFC Bud Walker of Fairfax County police is tracking where those crashes occurred. His results are beginning to appear on the 2012 bike crash site. We are very interested in seeing the crash location map similar to the bike crash map produced in 2010. We used the online program BatchGeo to produce an unedited crash location map based on the tabular data. See the 2010 crash location tabular data and the 2011 location tabular crash data.

Once we have the final 2012 data and map we plan to spend some time analyzing the locations and crash types. We want to discuss with county leaders how this data can be used to help prioritize future bike facility improvements.

FABB recently purchased an inexpensive bike counter made by TrafficCOM. We plan to start testing it in the coming weeks and if successful, we'll start using it throughout the county. We'll be posting more about our tests.

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If all of the location descriptions were more specific, they could be mapped liked DC and Arlington:
But there's no way to map "RICHMOND HWY" :(
More info: http://www.mvjantzen.com/blog/?p=3491
What constitutes a "reportable" crash?
RE: reportable crashes. Good question. According to DMV: Reportable traffic crash: Crash on a public highway which involves death, injury or property damage in excess of $1,500. The problem with this definition is that most bike crashes involve less than $1,500 in damage.

FABB plans to meet with police in the near future and we plan to ask if the DMV (and Virginia Code) definition of a reportable crash is what is used by FFX Co police. I hear about many crashes that are never even reported. The total figure of bike crashes is probably much higher than the reportable number.
Michael, We'd like to see better descriptions in the crash data. Our first attempt to use the raw data to map the crashes had several points way outside of the county because there was only one road listed, like Richmond Hwy.
Oddly, the Fairfax County Police Department numbers on reported bicycle crashes differ from Virginia DMV's official data, which are based on police crash reports.

See [ http://www.dmvnow.com/safety/crash_data/bicycle/pdf/crash_juris.pdf ] for reported bicycle crashes in Fairfax County from 2004 through 2011.

VA DMV operates a sophisticated database of police crash reports called TREDS. While only limited TREDS searches are available to the public (see [ http://www.dmvnow.com/safety/#crash_data/treds_reports.asp ]), "the data that is collected, stored and analyzed by this Division is shared with local, state and federal entities across Virginia to assist them with their efforts to decrease traffic crashes, injuries and fatalities."
We need to push local agency staff to use TREDS to analyze bicycling crashes.

The primary problem with the requirement under the Code of Virginia for filing police crash reports is that "injury" is inadequately defined, and many police officers will not file a crash report involving an injured bicyclist unless the bicyclist is immediately transported to a hospital emergency room.
Allen, Thanks for the info. I went to the link in your message, put in a start and end date, selected Fairfax County, Bicycle, and All reports and after hitting "Select Reports," a screen appeared with the search criteria with a Back button, but no report. What do I need to do to get a report? I tried several different options but still wasn't able to produce a report.

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