Help Make Bicycling Safer


a tragic story

A woman visiting from Vermont was struck and killed while she was riding in a bike lane during midday. The bike lane was located at the junction of Skyline Drive and Sunrise Drive in Tucson where a two-lane road becomes a three-lane road as traffic merges from a side road and crosses a colored bike lane. Although there were yield signs and signs indicating cyclists could be present, the practice of motorists is to merge at over 30 mph, a high speed for crossing a bike lane where cyclists have the right-of-way. A stop sign, rumble strips or drastically reduced speed would make this intersection considerably safer.

Could near-miss records have made a difference in this tragic crash? Probably, since there would have been records of potentially dangerous incidents involving cyclists and motor vehicles, crash precursors, occurring at the intersection. In the absence of information about near misses, county officials only have records of crashes reported to the police.

In the news story covering this tragic collision officials commented that there had been no previous crashes or deaths at this intersection and it was not considered to be a problem. Why should serious crashes and deaths be the currency for deciding if an intersection is dangerous for cyclists?

It remains to be seen if when presented with near-miss information that officials will make changes to make an intersection safer, but in the absence of such data the cycling community has no way to raise the issues except with anecdotal stories. The value of near-miss and unreported crash data (bike crash incidents with minor injuries that are rarely reported) is that cycling advocacy groups can present solid evidence of a potentially hazardous situations that should be addressed.

It is SBDs intent to gather data from cyclists, such as yourself, to regularly summarize the data and to use to work with the appropriate city, county and state officials to address hazardous areas by taking proactive steps to prevent crashes in the future.

Let's prevent tragic incidents where we can!