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Road Deaths – July 2013 – Cyclists Have Fared Badly :(

BITRE

The Department of Infrastructure and Transport’s Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics publishes monthly, a summary report on road deaths in Australia. This issue is dated July 2013. The full summary report is available from my Dropbox. My interest here is the outcomes for cyclists.

As at the end of July 2013 40 cyclists had died on Australian roads in the past 12 months, an increase of 10 deaths over the period for the previous 12 months and our darkest period in the past five years! This is shocking and should not be acceptable in today’s society. Our National Road Safety Strategy is failing our most vulnerable road users, people, yes cyclists are people, people who choose to ride bicycles.

The Department also has a database which allows some drilling down into what has taken place in the 2012 calendar year, January to December 2012.

During this period, 33 cyclists died on Australian roads with three of those cyclists being killed on Western Australian roads.

Looking at the data from an Australian wide perspective what can we learn. Well the majority of crashes, 78% involved more than one vehicle, with the dominant vehicle being motorcars and/or motorcycles. Rigid trucks where only involved in 12% of the fatalities.

In terms of speed zones, lower speed zones haven’t been too kind in the 2012 with 24% of cyclists killed on roads with a 50 km/h speed limit. The most risky speed zones are in the 80 km/h plus range with 51% of fatalities occurring on these roads.

My comment notwithstanding on lower speed zones no deaths occurred in the 30 km/h and 40 km/h speed zones.

Some good news can be found in the age analysis with children faring better than adults. Adults dominant the statistics at 93% of fatalities. Of these adults fatalities 90% where men.

What the best times to ride your bike? Well September is the month to avoid, no one day seems to stand out in the statistics but it does seem that commuting times are the more vulnerable times with the 7:00 AM and 8:00 AM and 4:00 PM and 5:00 PM time slots dominating the data.

Going back to the day of the week, the day seems to play little role with the peak being Fridays at six deaths and the quiet day being Thursday with three deaths. The other days are five deaths per day with the exception of Wednesday.

One small positive in all of this is that no cyclist deaths involved in the death of the 174 pedestrians in 2012.

2 Responses to Road Deaths – July 2013 – Cyclists Have Fared Badly :(

  1. James August 21, 2013 at 6:18 AM #

    Need to be very careful with statistics like “Adults dominant the statistics at 93% of fatalities. Of these adults fatalities 90% where men.” Is the total number of all cyclists known, and their age and sex? It could be that of the population of people riding, 90% are male adults. I.e. it is not possible to conclude that children and females are less likely to be killed if they ride a bike. Also, do we know the trend in total number of people riding? There is always going to be some variance, so has the number of deaths per kilometer or per trip or per cyclist increased beyond what would be considered normal statistical variance?

    What would be interesting to know, is the cause and mode. How often was the bicyclist doing something wrong or stupid? How often was it clearly the motorists fault in a collision? Was TBI the most common cause of death, and was a helmet being used?

    • Andrew Priest August 21, 2013 at 7:53 AM #

      Interesting that you use language like “bicyclist doing something wrong or stupid” and then state “how often was the it clearly the motorists fault in a collision” … do I detect a bias there?

      You might want to review the known research then which from what I have seen puts the motorist at fault in around 79% to 80% of incidents (1); you know the motorist doing something “wrong or stupid” which puts a vulnerable road user at serious risk. You need to keep in mind that that those vulnerable road users are without protection of cages, air bags and other safety aids that make up a modern car.

      As to the statistics, the comments are made about the the observations reported nothing more nothing less, i.e., descriptive statistics. … there is no prediction and forecasting taking place, i.e., inferential statistical analysis and hence your comment on “be very careful” is rather an odd indeed.

      (1) Research that I am aware of is documented at http://aushiker.com/cycling-research/ and includes the more recent paper on South Australian hospital presentations by cyclists which found in 79% of the crashes the motorist was at fault. You might find it informative reading. There are other papers at the first link which also provide informative insights.

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