FARS is the federal database of all police-reported fatal traffic incidents in the United States. It is intended to be complete accounting; it has come to my attention there are some known missing incidents.
This tool allows anyone to easily search the FARS database by exact date for the years from the most recent available (currently 2016) back to 2010. It also allows to filter by whether or not a pedestrian, bicyclist, motorcyclist, or anybody was involved. Continue reading Search FARS→
There have been 4 bicyclists killed in Tempe traffic collisions on city streets (excludes limited-access highways) over the past 5 years [five year period 2010-2014); at the same time dozens of motorists and 14 pedestrians have been killed.
[UPDATE: There were zero bicyclist fatalities in 2009, and 2015; there was one in 2016, and one in 2017 (as of December). I.e. there have been a total of 6 bicyclist traffic fatalities in the past 9 years]
Scope of the Problem
For the figures in this report, a 5-year time period, 2010-2014 was selected (the most recent available at the time; 2015 & 16 has since become available). Many additional crashes occur (14,000!) occur in Tempe on limited access highways; these crashes are not included.
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)
With the sharp increase in traffic fatalities in 2015 (35,092 a 7.2% increase) — this is getting some extra attention, e.g. the Fastlane blog said on Aug 29, 2016: “2015 Traffic Fatalities Data Has Just Been Released: A Call to Action to Download and Analyze”. The big data news here is that PBCAT data has reappeared, and the 2014 and 2015 datasets released today both have a PBtable. PBCAT data is important because it give much more granular information about bicyclist (and pedestrian) fatalities. Continue reading 2014 and 2015 Arizona Bicyclist Fatalities→
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). Continue reading Flagstaff Bike / Ped Crash Report→
There was a study published in 2007 which took FARS (for traffic fatalities) and GES (for injuries) data, and combined with NHTS (National Household Transp Survey. 2001) data to try to quantify relative risk of fatality/injury by travel mode per trip. Full text and full .pdf are both available free online: Continue reading Crash Injury Rates by Mode of Travel→
Rear-end crashes are, by far, the most common motor vehicle crash. Looking at all MV-MV (that is, motor vehicle crashes excluding single-vehicle crashes), a whopping 47% were classified as rear-end, using 2012 Arizona data. That’s almost 50,000 rear-end collisions a year, just in Arizona!