Wednesday, October 23 2013 @ 10:56 AM EDT
Contributed by: B' Spokes
B' Spokes: I made up that headline to point out the absurdity of this quote:
"Michael Jackson, director of bicycle and pedestrian access for the Maryland Department of Transportation, said the most common cycling injuries statewide result from people falling off their bikes. Most of those injured are men above age 40, Jackson said."
If there is some such statewide report I have not seen it and that in itself is worrisome. I do however recall some study done somewhere of emergency room visits that had a similar conclusion but I question the methodology of the survey. For example I wonder if the following qualify for just "falling off a bike":
* Wheel trapped in hazardous storm grate
* Back tire slid out from a narrow approach to a driveway with a bike unfriendly lip
* Trying to turn on a trail that does not have the proper turning radius
* Trying to ride on a shoulder and suddenly the width disappears (very common on right turns)
* Getting the wheel trapped by exposed railroad tracks
* Poles and bollards placed in the middle of the trail.
* Cracks in the pavement along the seam between two panels of asphalt
* Riding as far right as possible (That's what the law says right? - While too many think that's what the law says, it is in fact not what the law says.)
Well that paints a completely different picture and gets to the point I would like to make:
Stop blaming the victim!
Sure cyclists should be trained to avoid these things but does this list even exist in training materials for cyclists? That to me is a big issue, we pretend that these things do not exist or that cyclist can "easily" avoid them. But the fact is these things are treated as some sort of oral tradition that cannot be written down or worst as some sort of hazing ritual. But worst of all for the same money these things could and should be completely eliminated but instead the state implies that it is the cyclists fault.
Now getting to my headline, imagine a deadly car crash, and not only deadly the crash involves some issue that you as a driver care deeply about, drunk driving, speeding or some such thing. And a spokesperson for the state in response to this tragedy "The most common damage to cars is from shopping carts and car doors in parking lots."
That's a little outrageous in my book. Initially I was not going to say anything as the article goes into other things so this could just be a reporter issue picking the wrong quote to highlight but I saw another blog pull this quote out so I thought I would address it here.
The New York Times had this bit of info:
"She and her colleagues reviewed hospital and police records for 2,504 bicyclists who had been treated at San Francisco General Hospital. She expected that most of these serious injuries would involve cars; to her surprise, nearly half did not. She suspects that many cyclists with severe injuries were swerving to avoid a pedestrian or got their bike wheels caught in light-rail tracks, for example. Cyclists wounded in crashes that did not involve a car were more than four times as likely to be hurt so badly that they were admitted to the hospital. Yet these injuries often did not result in police reports — a frequent source of injury data — and appeared only in the hospital trauma registry."