Arizona Crash Facts 2015

Adot has released Crash Facts 2015 in early June (of 2016), as usual/expected; and I received the database from them very promptly. I have not yet updated the graphical crash map, but it still contains 2009-2014 for both MV-bike and MV-ped crashes.

Broad Overview of Traffic

The overall number of MV crashes ratcheted up, and there was an alarming rise in fatalities  (unless otherwise stated, all figures are year-over-year; 2014 vs. 2015; and are as was published in Crash Facts 2015 as published) :

  • number of MV crashes: 109,554 vs. 116,609  up  6.4%
  • Total Injuries: 50,890 vs. 53,555 up 5.2%
  • All Fatalities: 774 vs. 894 sharp rise of 15.6%

The number of crashes and injuries is broadly returning to pre-Great Recession levels, and thought to be tied to general economic activity levels. The sharp yearly rise in fatalities is not really understood;  perhaps AZ’s 2014 was anomalously low? If 2014 fatals are disregarded, fatalities, too are simply returning to pre-Great Recession levels. Here is some info about national trends; of which AZ is more-or-less in line with.

Bicyclist Specific

The results for cyclists showed sharp decreases in cyclist incidents and number of injuries compared to 2014 but are rather unexplainable. The number of fatalities is fairly flat in recent years —

  • the number of bike-MV crashes:  1742 vs. 1434 . down  sharply again, 17.7%
  • number of cyclists injured: 1459 vs. 1276 down sharply 13%
  • The number of fatal incidents at 28 is the same as last year’s reported. This year one incident was a double-fatality bringing the toll to 29 people killed.

The number of reported bike-MV crashes as well as injured cyclists is the lowest in modern history (ADOT has records back to 1997 on their website); and there’s been a strong trend downward since 2012. In other words, it was quite flat from (at least) the fifteen years from 1997 through 2011. It’s unknown what this means; is it less exposure? Under-reporting?

Bicyclist Fatal Incidents

Fatal incidents tend to be different modality than, say, injury crashes. E.g. you will find a higher fraction of “overtaking” type crashes in fatals. You can find out more info about each incident by looking here at the fatal crash grid which lists each fatal incident back to 2009; the one-letter codes (R, O, U, W, H) correspond to the broad category:

  • (11) R — right-angle, turning and crossing
    • 6 at intersection (or driveway), 2 “Crossing” road, 2 right-hook, 1 left-cross
    • would like a tally of sidewalk-related incidents (crosswalk/driveway)
  • (9)  O — motorist overtaking
    • Darkness tends to be high: 5 Dark, 1 Dawn, 3 daylight
    • 3 occurred on the state highway system, in rural areas.
    • 4 were struck in a BL or shoulder vs. 5 in roadway
    • fault was assigned to motorist in all cases except when dark w/no lights/reflector, 2 cases
  • (4)  U — not enough information to categorize
    • 2 incidents have extremely incomplete data; 2 have conflicting or inconsistent data; need full crash reports
  • (3)  W — weird
    • A cyclist struck parked trailer
    • In another incident, both motorist and cyclist took conflicting evasive action to avoid an animal
    • In the third one, the motorist drove up on sidewalk and struck cyclist; driver arrested
  • (1)  H — head on (cyclist was wrong-way)

Non-traffic Crashes

Non-traffic crashes are those that don’t involve a “motor vehicle in transport” occuring on roads, and on roads open to public travel; and therefore aren’t listed (with the one exception as noted above) in the crash database. Therefore these can only be known through news reports or word-of-mouth. So the list is bound to be incomplete.

There were FOUR such fatal bicyclist incidents in 2015 that I know about:

  • A Tucson bicyclist was struck by a train while traveling on a trestle
  • A young male bicyclist was killed when a UPS truck backed into him. This is presumably non-traffic because it occured in an apartment complex parking lot
  • A bicyclist died in an Apache Junction median; investigation revealed no motor vehicle was involved in the crash.
  • A Tucson bicyclist died upon falling in the street. No motor vehicle was involved; furthermore the bicycle was motorized (In any event; motorized bicyclists are categorized as Drivers and not as Bicyclists but it’s not clear how consistent this coding is).

 

Footnotes

The figures above were queried from the database, which is usually exactly conistent with the Arizona Crash Facts as published in June (it can vary later if Crash Facts is updated; adot does not update my database). For the queries, see arizona-crash-facts-2014

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