Local media ignore cycling accident study
An important way the local media---including the so-called alternative media---enforces GroupThink on important city issues is by ignoring information that contradicts City Hall policy.
The latest example: the recent UC study on cycling accidents in San Francisco. The New York Times found it newsworthy, but there's been nothing about it in the Chronicle, the Examiner, the city's two weeklies, and local blogs, even though the story is about public safety and the city.
The Times gets credit for at least covering it, but both the Times story itself and the head on the story---How Safe Is Cycling? It’s Hard to Say---misrepresent the study that shows that riding a bike in San Francisco is a lot more dangerous than City Hall and the Bicycle Coalition have been telling people.
The study discovered a significant disparity between cycling injuries reported by the police and those recorded at SF General Hospital, the city's primary trauma center. Of the 3,717 bicycle injury accidents reported by the SFPD between 2000 and 2009, only 1,137 were also found in SFGH records, a discrepancy of 2,580[I was wrong on this number; it should be 1,377 accidents recorded at SFGH but not reported in the police report numbers.] accidents not accounted for in city documents, like the city's annual Collision Reports, which rely on police reports on traffic accidents to calculate the safety or lack thereof on city streets.
This has serious policy implications, and the big one is this: It's irresponsible of City Hall to aggressively encourage people to ride bikes in the city---including even children.
To get a copy of the study, contact Dr. Rochelle Dicker at UCSF (DickerR@sfghsurg.ucsf.edu), and she will send you a link to the study.
See also the City Family concept, a "metaphor for conformity."