Flagstaff Bike / Ped Crash Report

The City of Flagstaff has put together crash data DRAFT Working Paper 4 Pedestrian and bicycle crash data. This report released in Oct 2015 geographically covers Flagstaff Metropolitan Planning Organization (FMPO) region — so the city of Flagstaff and surrounding area —  for the 10-year period from 2005 to 2014. It is well documented and uses the ADOT Safety Data Mart exclusively. As such, it doesn’t add any additional data of the sort that was added by the City of Phoenix’s collision summary. E.g. The City of Phoenix summary breaks down the cyclist’s position (accurately, by reading each crash report narrative) to reveal 70% of cyclists involving in collisions were on the sidewalk just prior to the collision (either at a crosswalk, or driveway).

A couple of red flags can be pointed out; and these same red flags exist in Phoenix data — regarding “Violations”. The report accurately notes that

Violations in crash reporting are not the same as citations or violations of Arizona Revised Statute; rather, they refer to actions or behavior that, in the opinion of the investigating officer, resulted in the crash. More than one violation may be checked.

In tables 52/54,  A high percentage of Bicyclists were supposedly in the OTHER violation category (20.7%) and RODE IN OPPOSING TRAFFIC LANE (8.5%).

It’s impossible to know from ASDM (that’s why Phoenix looks at crash reports themselves; and obviously much more labor-intensive process) but these two taken together normally indicate in a high percentage of sidewalk-related crashes the investigator either doesn’t understand, or insists that, riding the “wrong way” on the sidewalk (e.g. through a crosswalk) is a “violation”. Yet it is not. It’s certainly not recommended, but if they want it to be that way they should lobby lawmakers and get a law passed legitimizing their faulting the bicyclist.


There were 55 / 35 / 5 (motorist / ped / bicyclist) fatalities during the study period in FMPO. Many of these (in the case of motorist and ped fatalities) occurred outside of Flagstaff.

Of the 691 bicyclist incidents in FMPO, there were bicyclist 5 fatalities in this time period (all 5 occurred in Flagstaff).

I would have thought each one could be treated individually.

Here are the four that appear on the 2009-2014 Fatality Grid (I don’t have records back to 2005; so presumably one other occurred between 2005 and 2008)

  • 11/16/2009 — Classic right hook with city recycling truck. More on azbikelaw.
  • 9/16/2010 — Driver made bad left. News article. (Driver was eventually cited and charged, but we had to get after them)
  • 8/9/2011 — 7 y.o. boy rode out from stop sign. News article.
  • 9/9/2012  —  Driver was (very) DUI, excessive speed, hit-and-run, blew stop. More on azbikelaw. “Witnesses described the roar of Cody’s engine as sounding like an airplane as she roared through a residential 25 mph zone, blew through a stop sign and killed Mahoney on impact.” Driver sentenced to 18 years prison.

Just to mention, there was one in Coconino county way outside town, not in FMPO:

  • 9/7/2014 — Motorist overtaking error, Highway 180 between Flag and Grand Canyon.

Additionally; just to mention, there was one in 2015 (after the study period) and also occurring outside FMPO; outside of Tuba City. There were no bicyclist fatalities in Flagstaff in 2015.

Closing Remarks

In a way, the report is very clean in that it just reduces the ASDM data, but in another way it’s too mechanical, and doesn’t add much value. You can get more-or-less exactly the same data by looking at the crashmap of asdm data (except I only have years 2009-2015)

2006 ADOT Report

Because of the adot connection, it covers only the Route 66 (a.k.a. Business Route 40) corridor. It covers 5 years of data, involving 75 bicyclist incidents. The conclusions were that  Wrong-way riding coupled with Sidewalk / path operation resulted in a large number of collisions:

A crash study performed in 2006 along the Route 66 corridor in Flagstaff showed a very high number of crashes involving cyclists using the north sidewalk or the pathway on the south side, especially at intersections. Although the pathway is perceived to be safer, the high number of intersection-related crashes is an issue.

This is similar to results from other studies, which showed that designs that insert cyclists into intersections from unexpected or hard-to-see locations typically have high crash numbers. Drivers are not conditioned to look for high-speed bicyclists entering the intersection from the side of other traffic.

Here is b40flag.ppt a .ppt version of the 2006 study, and there’s also a web viewable version.

News Media

Daily Sun article Dec 2015 Despite safety campaign, Flagstaff bike collision stats unchanged used the same annoying photo of a cyclist riding in the gutter as an earlier story with the same or similar annoying/misleading explanations of the law.