Sunday, December 08, 2013

What did City Hall know, and when did it know it?

Gene Hwang photo

One wonders how much of an oversight this under-reporting of cycling injuries by the city really is. How likely is it that the city somehow overlooked all the cycling accident victims who show up at the city's primary trauma center, San Francisco General Hospital? Where else would they go?

From the 2004 Bicycle Plan that was the subject of our successful litigation:

Recommended Action 6.11:
"Develop a system for hospitals, emergency rooms, and clinics to report all instances of bicycle injury to the SFPD and to the DPT Bicycle Program Manager." 

This was before DPT was merged with the MTA.

Obviously that simple recommendation was never acted on by City Hall. Why not?

On the same page:

For the last several years, the San Francisco Department of Public Health has been working on an injury data linkage project using hospital admission data. Currently, San Francisco General Hospital is not obligated to report bicycle injuries to the SFPD. This is left up to the injured parties. EMS (ambulance services) is supposed to report bicycle injuries, but many are not reported.

Maybe City Hall didn't want to publish realistic numbers on cycling accidents, since that would support the idea that riding a bike in San Francisco is actually dangerous, thus undermining an important premise of City Hall's anti-car traffic policies.

What did City Hall know, and when did it know it? Was the UC study really the first the city learned about this under-reporting? 

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