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Washington - Bicyclists, Large Truck Deaths Soar, Bucking Trend

Published on: December 10, 2012 11:20 PM
By: AP
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A ghost bike memorial marks the spot where a cyclist was killed in an accident with a truck. <br />
Credit: REUTERS/Richard ClementA ghost bike memorial marks the spot where a cyclist was killed in an accident with a truck.
Credit: REUTERS/Richard Clement

Washington - Deaths of bicyclists and occupants of large trucks rose sharply last year even as total traffic fatalities dropped to their lowest level since 1949, federal safety officials said Monday.

Bicyclist deaths jumped 8.7 percent and deaths of occupants of large trucks increased 20 percent, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said in an analysis of 2011 traffic deaths.

Overall traffic fatalities dropped 1.9 percent, to 32,367. The decline came as the number of miles driven by motorists dropped by 1.2 percent.

Last year also saw the lowest fatality rate ever recorded, with 1.10 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled in 2011, down from 1.11 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled in 2010.

The increase in bicycle deaths probably reflects more people riding bicycles to work and for pleasure, said Jonathan Adkins, deputy executive director of the Governors Highway Safety Association, which represents state highway safety agencies.

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Washington, D.C., for example, reports a 175 percent increase in bicyclists during morning and evening rush hours since 2004. The city also tripled its bike lane network during the same period.

“Our culture is beginning to move away from driving and toward healthier and greener modes of transportations,” Adkins said. “We need to be able to accommodate all these forms of transportation safely.”

The increase in deaths of large-truck occupants is more puzzling, but may be due to more trucks returning to the road as the economy improves, he said.

“There are more questions than answers about what is occurring here,” Adkins said. NHTSA said the agency is working with the Federal Motor Carrier Administration to gather more information to better understand the reason for the increase.

Motorcycle deaths also rose 2.1 percent, marking the 13th time in the last 14 years that motorcycle rider deaths have risen.


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1

 Dec 11, 2012 at 08:56 AM Ex-Bicycle Rider Says:

Bicycles and automobiles do not mix; they should not share the same roadways. For example, in The Netherlands, there are separate bicycle paths throughout the entire country, for both bikes and motorbikes; unfortunately, the same does not hold true throughout the USA. For example, in NYC, there are only a few bike only paths. There is one on the Belt Parkway, which I used years ago, to go to JFK Airport. However, it is unsafe to ride a bike on congested city streets. Unfortunately, some bike riders are themselves the cause of accidents, as they disregard traffic laws, which also apply to them, and perform other insane stunts. One time, in the downtown area of my community, I was making a right turn. All of a sudden, I noticed a reckless bicycle rider, who was attempting to squeeze his bike in between my car, and the curb on the right side, and outrace me, while I was making a right turn. Fortunately, I avoided him, but he was truly a meshuganah!!

2

 Dec 11, 2012 at 10:33 AM PaulinSaudi Says:

If you are as old as I am, you have seen a miracle in the reduction of traffic deaths. I remember my mother's Chrysler Imperial. It was a death trap. Safer cars, safer roads, better ambulance services, all have done wonders in reducing the butcher's bill.

3

 Dec 11, 2012 at 02:04 PM ShmuelG Says:

Reply to #1  
Ex-Bicycle Rider Says:

Bicycles and automobiles do not mix; they should not share the same roadways. For example, in The Netherlands, there are separate bicycle paths throughout the entire country, for both bikes and motorbikes; unfortunately, the same does not hold true throughout the USA. For example, in NYC, there are only a few bike only paths. There is one on the Belt Parkway, which I used years ago, to go to JFK Airport. However, it is unsafe to ride a bike on congested city streets. Unfortunately, some bike riders are themselves the cause of accidents, as they disregard traffic laws, which also apply to them, and perform other insane stunts. One time, in the downtown area of my community, I was making a right turn. All of a sudden, I noticed a reckless bicycle rider, who was attempting to squeeze his bike in between my car, and the curb on the right side, and outrace me, while I was making a right turn. Fortunately, I avoided him, but he was truly a meshuganah!!

Have you ever spent ANY time in Holland? In Amsterdam? Den Haag? Rotterdam? Yes, there are separated paths for bicycles... in the country side. I used to like to ride them immensely. Still do, just don't get there as often anymore. But in the cities, big cities especially, bicycle paths are nothing more than white lines drawn on either side of streets, not so different from New York or Baltimore. And most streets don't even have that.

4

 Dec 11, 2012 at 03:15 PM Silver Says:

To #3- If you read#1's article, it states that there are separate paths for bikes throughout the country, meaning the country part of Holland. At no time did the ex-bicycle rider state that there were separate bike paths in Amsterdam or any other Dutch city. I believe that the point that the ex-bicycle rider was trying to make was that The Netherlands appears to give a higher priority to bicycle riding throughout the country, than is the case here.

5

 Dec 11, 2012 at 06:38 PM ShmuelG Says:

Reply to #4  
Silver Says:

To #3- If you read#1's article, it states that there are separate paths for bikes throughout the country, meaning the country part of Holland. At no time did the ex-bicycle rider state that there were separate bike paths in Amsterdam or any other Dutch city. I believe that the point that the ex-bicycle rider was trying to make was that The Netherlands appears to give a higher priority to bicycle riding throughout the country, than is the case here.

Nope. He was lamenting that there are too few bicycle paths in NYC, as in New York City, and unfavorably comparing it to Netherlands. I don't think he is so stupid as to compare NYC to the Dutch cheese farms and roads lined with the few remaining windmills.

6

 Dec 12, 2012 at 06:31 AM ZEV Says:

To ShmuelG-#6- Your remarks, not only in this specific case, but over the months, show a definite pattern of a lack of derech eretz, to anyone you disagree with. Your philosophy appears to verbally bully contributors to this board, and then try to humiliate and degrade them. Unfortunately, you lack the ability to disagree with ANYONE in a respectful manner. It makes no difference whether the discussion is about bicycle paths, or anything else, as your modus operandi appears to be the same in each and every case!

7

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