Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Crashes and road design

Safety activist Jim Smith came upon the scene of a bicycle crash Sunday morning on Route A1A in Delray Beach. He comments:
According to a woman bicyclist involved, the crash occurred when one of the fallen bicyclists ran into the back wheel of her bicycle. ... When crashes like this occur you realize just how unsafe it is for bicyclists to ride on an un-shouldered highway.
In my opinion, this accident says less about the road than it does about rider skills. The cause of the crash, after all, was one rider brushing the wheel of another -- which suggests they were riding too close together or, if in a paceline, that the rider in front made a move without warning the rider(s) behind.

Looking at the photo, though, I hate to think what the accident numbers in Delray Beach would be if riders used that sidewalk instead of the road. Look how the walk hugs the high hedges. Imagine the potential for a T-bone crash when a car leaves one of those driveways. And, with the walk that far back from the road, see the potential for a crash between a turning car and a sidewalk rider? No wonder the riders of Palm Beach County are determined that the Department of Transportation should add bicycle lanes when it improves Route A1A!

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