TL;DR? Here’s the bottom line:
Something suspicious is happening in 7 larger cities in Arizona ( ‘Chandler’, ‘Flagstaff’, ‘Glendale’, ‘Gilbert’, ‘Mesa’, ‘Scottsdale’, ‘Tempe’). That’s mostly the largest cities in AZ, excluding Phoenix and Tucson. In these 7 places, reported low-severity bike-MV crashes have decreased dramatically comparing before versus after 2014; suggesting some sort of policy change.
It’s been noted that the number of reported Bike-MV crashes reported by police in Arizona have seen a mysterious sharp decrease; even as the number of MV crashes in general has risen. In round numbers through the 2009-2016 period, Bike-MV crashes have fallen by about a third, while crashes overall have increased by 20%. This time period covers the economic downturn following the Financial Crisis of 2008 and subsequent recovery. That trend has been used to explain the MV crash rate; but it doesn’t seem to have anything to do with Bike-MV rates; which would logically rise with more traffic and more (MV) traffic crashes.
Fewer crashes would be a good thing of course, but it feel like there’s something else going here. Also, the number of fatalities, while statistically small, remained relatively flat but above their longer-term trend of 24 (rolling 10 yr average 2007-2016; refer to internal spreadsheet \crashReports\asdm\AZstats.xls)
[update: 9/28/2017 — driver charged w/ 2nd degree murder]
Impaired drivers remain a serious threat to bicyclists. And pedestrians. And other drivers. And passengers.
9/22/2017 “just after midnight” Bicyclist (60-year-old Peter Rankin) killed incidentally when a suspected impaired, speeding driver (Kevin Richard Hevel, 30) sideswiped another vehicle; jumped the curb onto the sidewalk where he struck and killed the bicyclist, kept going (of course) and continued on to rear-end a Glendale police cruiser. Near 59th and Glendale Ave, in Glendale, AZ. Continue reading PD: Driver hit SUV, killed bicyclist in Glendale before hitting police car→
A driver driving the wrong way on the freeway killed all four occupants of the other vehicle. Police have not revealed why they think driver was driving the wrong way, however, they did note that this year
“…DPS arrested 52 people suspected of driving the wrong way… Ultimately, each of the 52 drivers arrested was found to be impaired”.
7/26/2017 ~ 8:40am. News reports Eastbound Bus on McKellips near Country Club crashed headon with a cyclist traveling westbound in the eastbound lane.
It was approaching the intersection of McKellips with Grand according to the map location in the news story. In a later news story a police spokesperson identified the bicyclist as Shedrick Galloway, 46/M, and said he “was hit when he veered in front of the bus”.
Wrong-way riding is a pretty common contributing factor in bike-mv collisions, however this type where the bicyclist is thought to have veered into the path of oncoming traffic is pretty rare. Another later news story relates that the bicyclist wasn’t feeling well and had already called a friend to come pick him up; so perhaps (speculation) he suffered some sort of medical emergency that caused the veering.
fatal incident 8/27/2016; This was reported in the media at the time but I had missed it.
Cyclist Thomas J. Butler 39/M; 43rd Ave, just north of Bethany Home Road. It’s not clear when police say things like “The bicyclist tried to ride across the street, not in a crosswalk”; and there are inconsistencies in the data file; unfortunately the crash report itself is unavailable from the given file number, so the world will never know: Continue reading Phoenix police: Bicyclist identified after being hit by suspected drunk driver→
This is an outline of each 2016 fatality that was unknown to me — or that could not be found by reverse-googling — until the database was released in mid-2017. See the full 2016 grid here.
There are 10 such incidents, not counting two additional exceedingly poorly-documented incidents that were also nowhere to be found in media report. That means that of total of 30 fatal incidents (31 fatalities, as one was double) in 2016, 18 were reported in the media while 12 were not — or at least not that I can find.