Vannevar pointed out something earlier today: All four cyclisrs killed on PA51 north of town were on their way to or from work when struck.
Can we come up with a more complete list? I know we have a list of fatalities in the archives somewhere. I'd like to expand on that, or at least use it as a base. My hunch is that the majority were commuting, but it would be better to have a more definitive figure.
Don Parker, May 2010 - on way to work
Dr. Albert Varacallo, July 2010 - on way to work
The two girls in Beaver County who wrecked, killing one, no car involved, 2009 - pleasure ride
RuiHui Lin - on the job
Emily Jancart - returning home from work
Taylor Banks - returning home from work
Dennis Flanagan - returning home from work
Michael McDermott - returning home from work
Susan Hicks - returning home from work
James Price - out getting some exercise
All those are off the top of my head, and just the deaths. But you see the pattern.
Thank you, Stu. I think this provides an important insight into what everyday cyclists are really about.
On another thread I posted a pic of a mural I found in Brooklyn with pictures of people killed while cycling. Maybe we need the same here in Pgh?
Why so many bike deaths are commuters: When people bike for recreation, they usually choose trails or roads that are safe and pleasant. When people commute by bike, they usually choose the quickest route, and in Pittsburgh, that will often involve unsafe roads because our bike network is so incomplete.
I accept that, right now, commuting is more dangerous than recreational riding.
But the point is that biking should be a perfectly acceptable form of everyday personal transportation. And it should not be any more dangerous than driving around in a car.
Right now, what makes it more dangerous is the inability of motor vehicle operators to respect the right of other citizens, cyclists and pedestrians, to rightfully use public space. We all pay for for this space; it belongs to all of us.
The current state can and will change. But only if we resolutely keep pushing towards our goal.
Commuting may be more dangerous because of the number of hours people commute vs rec cycle as well as the volume of cars on the road with commuting vs rec times.
Commuting is more bikes during the time that there are more cars. So more likely to have a crash.
All my serious accidents have been while commuting.
(Serious = I couldn't keep riding at that point, not that I died.)
I'm not sure that stats address the issue ("the majority of car crashes happen within ~2 miles of home, because that's where most of your travel happens"). Does that matter?
Why is it ok for cyclists to die while simply going our way? Are we exceeding the speed limits? Are we engaging in dangerous maneuvers like passing in restricted zones? Are we unaware of our environment? I doubt it.
It's not "bicycle commuting" that's the problem.
@EdROnline asks, should we have a memorial or marker for people killed cycling in Pgh?
I think this is an outstanding idea. For example, the memorial to homeless Pgh'ers who died on the streets, under the overpass at Grant's Crossing. We should have a place with markers, if only to conduct media interviews when another cyclist dies. (seriously)
^how about putting it & also one for pedestrians on the side of the District-11 headquarters building? (seriously)
* Date of death
* How it happened (max 3 words, e.g., "hit by car")
* Purpose of cyclist's trip
* Where it happened (lat/lon for mapping)
* Who maintains that road
* Link to further info or press coverage
Some of this info could go on the sign or plaques or whatever, but we need a handy online map and data table, too.
I think some place near Dippy would be good. Natural rallying place, good for interviews, prominent.
Stu, I don't mean to split hairs, but if we're going to do this, I would double check the circumstances of Dennis Flanagan. I seem to remember reading that he was not working.
here's the picture again of the mural in Gowanus, Brooklyn. I'm guessing that they had permission of the families involved to do this.
I think Bike Pgh keeping an internal database of crashes w/ and w/o fatalities would be good, as it gives ammo (bad choice of words) for meeting with pols and other stakeholders about road redesigns, etc. It is easy to ignore an angry person at a microphone. It is harder to ignore them when they are backed up with data.
However, this will be quite an undertaking, and not sure if Bikepgh wants to do this or not.
(unless they already have, or someone else has).
Another option would be seeing if there is some sort of urban planning or transportation studies department or institute at CMU or Pitt who may be interested in this type of project. Or maybe a local foundation who would drop some $$$ so someone could hire someone to create and maintain a database.
Here's an interesting map from NCDOT
We already have a list of names, somewhere back in the archives, touched since one of the 2013 deaths. It shouldn't be too difficult to expand on that to something we (and by we, I mean Bike-Pgh) can post on a webpage, and then print out on poster-sized format to bring on a tripod anywhere, anytime.
Yeah, my off-the-cuff list was not intended to be definitive, just an example of what I think we should be able to display to whoever would consume the info.
There's an earlier thread on tracking bicycle death locations
Ideally BikePgh could take responsibility for maintaining an up-to-date map. You know, leveraging our membership dues and stuff. It would be a useful reference. Otherwise it all fades into folklore.
Stu, I don’t mean to split hairs, but if we’re going to do this, I would double check the circumstances of Dennis Flanagan. I seem to remember reading that he was not working.
correct--like James Price, he was riding for exercise, an attempt to get healthier. Per the Trib, "He told relatives he wanted to be sure he'd live to see his daughter, Corra Flanagan, 16, finish high school."
More interesting to me is the proportion of fatal crashes which occur on PennDOT rather than county or muni roads, even (especially?) roads like Forbes, where Susan Hicks died last year, which are no longer part of the state highway system.
The 2010 version of PennDOT's Type 10 map shows Forbes (from BoA), Beeler, Wilkins, S Dallas (to Penn Ave) is SR 2108. Unless there has been a "turnback" from PennDOT to the city, Forbes through Oakland is still PennDOT's.
Sorry, that was unclear-- I meant state roads like Forbes (also most of Butler), which are still state-owned but only for historical reasons, as they are no longer part of the state highway system.
(Forbes & the rest of 2108 was once part of US22/30, but hasn't been since the Parkway was built; Freeport & Butler were once part of 28 and 8.)
It makes sense that there's a lot of deaths on the state roads. More than most roads, they are the roads you take to go places. Particularly in a car, but even on a bike.
There is ambiguity about the reports of Dennis Flanagan's status.
The crash reports say he was riding home from work.
The crowd-funding reports say, he's been on disability for 20 years.
I just can't think about either.