Where are the reports?
|Mayor Lee on Bike to Work Day|
Still waiting for the city to publish both its annual Collision Report and its annual Bicycle Count. Both are long overdue. They should be particularly interesting this year.
I suspect that the MTA is struggling with the findings of the recent UCSF study of cycling injuries in San Francisco that I wrote about last month here and here. The study found that injuries to cyclists in the city have been systematically under-reported by relying mostly on police reports and not including the accidents reflected in emergency admissions to SF General Hospital.
Which leads to other questions: What about data from other emergency rooms in San Francisco? Can we assume that all injured cyclists in the city are treated at SF General?
Dr. Dicker responded to the question in an email message:
Given that SFGH is San Francisco's only trauma center, all seriously injured people, if they don't come to SFGH, are transferred there. The city contracts with SFGH to provide 98% of trauma care. St. Lukes gets a small percentage. We certainly miss people who go to their PMD or to ERs with minor injuries. From the standpoint of trauma surveillance, SF is unique in that we are able to capture the vast majority from looking at just one hospital. Other cities often don't have that capacity. It's fortunate because we can document quite accurately our burden of injury for purposes of matching that burden with resources towards injury prevention and policy.
Speaking of "matching that burden" with "policy," since the UC study shows that riding a bike in San Francisco is a lot more dangerous than the city says in its annual Collision Reports, will City Hall reconsider its policy of encouraging people---even children---to ride bikes in the city? Will they at least try to inform would-be cyclists of the real dangers involved? Can City Hall continue to assume that riding bikes is simply a green, win-win deal for everyone?
Bike experts have long maintained that most cycling accidents are "solo falls," or what the study calls "cyclist only" accidents. The UC study shows that "cyclist only" accidents often result in more serious injuries than "auto-versus-bicycle" injuries: "Based on SFGH data, we found that those with CO[cyclist only] injuries were four times as likely to require intensive care unit admission" as auto-versus-bicycle injuries.
Which means that creating more bike lanes---even separated bike lanes---can't really deal with the inherent danger of riding bikes.