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ODOT bike crash figures increase

Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on June 20th, 2006 at 6:16 am

The Oregon Department of Transportation released their 2005 crash statistics today and the numbers don't look good for cyclists.

In 2005 there were 802 total crashes involving bikes, including 11 fatalities and 779 injuries. That's 100 more crashes and 100 more injuries than in 2004.

It seems like ODOT is not doing enough to make Oregon's roads safe for all users.

In fact, if you look at their "Bicyclist Safety Program" website you'll come across the following goal:

"Reduce the number of bicyclists injured in crashes with motor vehicles to 575 by the year 2005."

Looks like they're not doing as good a job as they'd hoped.

Is this increase all ODOT's fault? Can they be doing more to increase the safety of road users? I think cyclists all across Oregon should be concerned by this upward trend in bike-related crashes.

[I got word of these stats through Oregon State Representative Jerry Krummel's office.]

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  • Kevin June 20, 2006 at 7:01 am

    I would attribute a high percentage of the increase to reporting and to increased ridership. More people are reporting crashes and injuries than have in the past. Combine this with more riders on the road and the statistics are going to increase.

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  • Richard June 20, 2006 at 8:21 am

    ODOT had a goal to reduce the number of bicyclists injured in crashes with motor vehicles to 525 in 2005. What was their strategy to achieve these goals? Have they implemented this strategy? Have they reviewed the results of this strategy for effectiveness? What changes will they make to achieve reductions in 2006 and 2007?

    The problem isn't all ODOTs, but they have a part to play. As a public organization, they also need to be open about their policies, strategies and results

    Jonathan, is there any way you (or someone) can answer the questions I raise here?

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  • Matt G. June 20, 2006 at 8:53 am

    I agree that ridership increases will ultimately cause an increase in accidents. ODOT should be smart enough to consider that increases in ridership will, in itself, make any *decrease* in accidents more difficult. We need to see the plan and implentation segments of this (missed) goal to understand whether or not this was a realistic target, or just something to placate riders.

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  • randy June 20, 2006 at 9:15 am

    To date, the amount of effort and funding to get 'share the road' and similar educational messages/information out to motorists by both ODOT and PDOT is either dismal or non-existant. Something like this mailed to every licensed driver would be good for starters:

    http://www.bikemaine.org/pdfs/Motorists-STR.pdf
    http://www.bikemaine.org/pdfs/Bicyclists-STR.pdf

    There's also some additional radio and TV PSA spots in WMV and MP3 format here:
    http://www.bikemaine.org/share_the_road.htm

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  • Aaron June 20, 2006 at 12:15 pm

    Some time ago I was a contract employee for ODOT. I asked if I could apply for the job permanently. The response was that, yes I did have all of the qualifications except, I didn't drive. That was a requirement to work in their building downtown (where street parking is rare). While there I spoke with folks about unsafe conditions on ODOT roads and was told across the board 'there's not enough money.' If you look at a listing of the most dangerous intersections in Portland, all of top listings are on ODOT roads. This shows that ODOt's above goal is mere lip service. I challenge anyone there to prove otherwise.

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  • Matt P. June 20, 2006 at 11:26 pm

    Aaron - about the job requirement - ironic, since most organizations want someone to have "reliable" transportation - how much more reliable can you get than a bike?

    In general - I'm sure this has nothing to do with the increase in bridge construction in Portland last year and the detours / closures / etc it created (end sarcasm). These are useless statistics without more data. What were the number of construction miles in 2005 vs 2004? Ridership in trips? Trip-miles? What happened with the percentage and number of drunk drivers in 2005? (many bike accidents are because the car driver was drunk) What about man-hours of police traffic enforcement? Did they go up or down? (influencing the number of drunk drivers out on the road) The causes of the increase could depend on a number of factors, and I've only listed some of them. (and almost ignored the cyclist-related ones, like helmet use, obeying traffic laws, etc)

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  • Tree June 22, 2006 at 8:13 pm

    Aaron, did you need to drive on the job? If not, I'd be curious to know what the Bureau of Labor & Industries would have to say about ODOT's requirement - or a knowledgeble labor lawyer. I wonder if that is still a requirement? Talk about assinine and probably illegal.

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