2010 data shows major increases in fatalities

Michigan’s Office of Highway Safety Planning issued a press release today regarding reported road crashes.

The news isn’t good, but especially for pedestrians and bicyclists.

For the first time in seven years, Michigan experienced an up tick in traffic deaths in 2010. During the same time the number of traffic crashes, serious injury crashes and alcohol-involved crashes all declined. While traffic deaths were up, the overall trend continues to be one of decline.

And while the detailed data hasn’t been released yet, they did provide these summaries:

  • Pedestrian involved fatalities increased 6 percent, up from 125 in 2009 to 133 in 2010.
  • Bicycle involved fatalities were up 55 percent, from 20 in 2009 to 31 in 2010.

What are “bicycle involved fatalities?” It means there was a reported crash that involved a bicyclists which resulted in a death. Since bicyclists typically don’t crash and kill other people (even pedestrians), these fatalities are most likely all bicyclists.

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7 Responses to “2010 data shows major increases in fatalities”

  1. Dave Says:

    Is this increase in fatalities is tied to an increase in bicycle usage? Any data on that to compare this with? Road commissions are going to have to more aggressively address the needs of those using bicycles in roads, lest these two data points consistently (and needlessly) trend higher together.

  2. Todd Scott Says:

    The state doesn’t track bicycle or pedestrian use, which undermines their bicycling and walking safety program. Their goals are to reduce traffic crashes which can be accomplished by building roads that discourage biking and walking. In other words, if no one biked or walked, there would be no crashes/fatalities and they would meet their stated goals – but that’s whole other topic to write about.

    The state does track vehicle miles traveled for use in motor vehicle crash data.

  3. Gary Says:

    Even if we had increase in numbers, I’d expect Michigan would follow the pattern of other locations and see a decrease in crashes. Any reason we wouldn’t? Perhaps if we had increase in numbers and little or no improvement in infrastructure.

    Safety in numbers research:

    • Minneapolis: http://bit.ly/safeinnumbers
    • Out of Australia: http://bit.ly/fEablN (PDF)
    • Out of New York City: http://bit.ly/dT2KMc
    • 2003 Berekly Study: http://bit.ly/g74rcl (PDF)

  4. Dave Says:

    I am seeing some increase in bicycle riding, and I’m guessing the increase is likely from an increase in bicyle riding for transportation, but still modest.

    Still, it seems grants are set up to be used for specific purposes, but then again, I’m guessing accommodating bicylists takes more than $30,000. I just find this article troubling that yes, this would be an attraction, but is it really that high on a list of priorities? What kind of funds and how much does it take to make an impact on non-motorized transportation in say a suburb of Detroit of less than 15,000 people? http://www.thenewsherald.com/articles/2011/05/05/none/doc4dc2d5b529ec0706102663.txt

    Lastly, this is related, but where does complete streets fit in with road construction? I don’t remember the legislation exactly, but I think it mentions making “complete streets” when there is any re-paving. Is there a more specific distinction of what re-paving is?

  5. Chris Says:

    Safety-in-numbers usually refers to a decrease in crash rates (per mile bicycled) as more people bicycle. Sometimes the total number of crashes increases, but at a rate lower than the increase in bike usage.

    It’s tough to make judgments based on what could be a one-year blip.

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