My letter to the FHWA about Connect Historic Boston

My letter is online.

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4 Responses to My letter to the FHWA about Connect Historic Boston

  1. Jack Hughes says:

    I find it interesting your letter cites right-turning traffic conflicts as being the greatest cause of fatalities for cyclists in Boston in recent years. The claim caught my attention only because of the recent LAB study release that found a majority of the fatal accidents were collisions from behind. I trust that you are right in the case of Boston and have to wonder what factors underlie the different finding for LAB’s study.

  2. jsallen says:

    The difference occurs for three main reasons:

    * Slow traffic. Boston is an old city with relatively slow traffic. Hit-from-behind fatals occur more often on highways with higher speeds;

    * Many more intersections and driveways per mile than in rural areas;

    * Traffic congestion and “coffin corner” bike lane installations which encourage bicyclists to overtake motor vehicles on the right.

    Also, the LAB report did not say that the majority of fatals were hit-from behind collisions. This is from the League’s page about the report:

    We learned, for example, that a much higher percentage of fatal crashes than expected — 40% of fatal crashes with a reported collision type — were “hit from behind” incidents

    Just what is surprising about this finding confounds me. Other reports over the years have generated very similar numbers. The LAB report and the publicity about it are misleading about actual risks, by reporting this finding as surprising and by only examining fatal crashes. They are a very small part of the overall bicycle crash picture. The overall cost to society and effect on the lives of individuals of non-fatal crashes is much higher, and the percentages of crash types are much different. Most which send a cyclist to the emergency room do not even involve a motor vehicle. Reporting only on fatals and stressing hit-form-behind crashes supports an agenda to construct barrier-separated bikeways on streets and to ignore the risks of the most common types of bicycle crashes.

  3. Jack Hughes says:

    Right, large plurality, not a majority! Thanks for the feedback and clarification.

  4. Jack Hughes says:

    More on the LAB study and the 40% figure here: http://iamtraffic.org/news-views/joining-the-chorus-of-ignorance/

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