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City study offers insight to causes of bike vs. car accidents

The Fort Collins Coloradoan: City study offers insight to causes of bike vs. car accidents

Bicyclists, motorists need to be aware and share the road

NOVEMBER 3, 2009

A new city study offers valuable insight into the causes of accidents involving automobiles and bicycles in Fort Collins.

 

Between 2007 and the middle of this year, Fort Collins had an accident involving a bicyclist and motorist every 62 hours. That’s far too common, especially since most accidents could be easily avoided with more focus to basic safety by both motorists and bicyclists.

"It’s clear looking at this data there is room for improvement for both motorists and bicyclists," said Joe Olson, Fort Collins traffic engineer. "Everyone has accountability for making everyone safe."

More than a third of the accidents in the city in that period - 123 out of 354 - were broadside collisions in which the bicyclist was riding against traffic. From the first time most of us got on a bike, we have been told to ride with traffic, but for some reason, the message doesn’t fully sink in.

This is a good opportunity for parents to make sure they reinforce the message about riding with traffic when talking with their children. And for adult riders, this sobering statistic should be enough reminder about why riding against traffic isn’t just dangerous; it’s illegal.

The entire onus can’t be on bicyclists, but they will almost always bear the worst of a collision with a vehicle.

Bicyclists and motorists alike have to maintain a constant awareness that both types of vehicles will be sharing the road. As Fort Collins bike coordinator Dave "DK" Kemp said, "There’s a lot of bad bike behavior and a lot of bad car behavior."