The Iowa Bicycle Coalition has released a review of bicycle crash data from the Iowa DOT’s Safety Analysis, Visualization, and Evaluation Resource (SAVER) database. Overall crash number dropped in 2017 by 13%, but bicycle advocates remain cautious about calling it a trend after several years of increasing levels of bicycle crashes.
Bicyclists killed by motorists dropped to five in 2017, but four of the five crashes involved younger persons under 16 years old. “The amount of young people killed in 2017 was alarming,” says Mark Wyatt, executive director of the Iowa Bicycle Coalition. Nonfatal crashes involving bicyclists under 16 years old dropped at 11% — lesser than the overall percentage.
“Drivers need to exercise caution, reduce speeds, eliminate distractions, and be ready to brake,” adds Wyatt. Crashes involving kids under 16 also increased in sidewalk and trail intersections and increased in 25 mph speed zones.
Overall crash rates in non-roadway facilities, like trails did show an increase. There was also a 6% increase in failure to yield the right-of-way by motorists.
Some factors have remained consistent despite the drop in the number of crashes. Most bicycle crashes happen on clear days during daylight hours without contributing environmental circumstances. Drivers are noted to have contributing circumstances in the crashes approximately 50% of the time, but charges are only reported in 22% of crashes.
Data from the 2015-17 crash reports are available at the Iowa Bicycle Coalition’s website at www.iowabicyclecoalition.org/crashreports.