Slaughter on the roadways

In the last there days, Monday through Wednesday, at least four people died when struck by car drivers, and two others were injured. I know that the Sacramento Bee does not report all pedestrian and bicyclist fatalities and injuries, so there may have been more in the region, but this is an incredible level of slaughter.

The SacBee articles so far are:

The better of these articles describe the outcome and location in a factual manner. The poorer ones place the blame on the victim. This victim blaming is aided and abetted by the law enforcement officers who make the assumption that either a) it was a “tragic accident” that could not have been prevented or b) the driver was not drunk and remained at the scene, so clearly it is the pedestrian or bicyclist’s fault. Both are nonsensical statements and ideas.

Continue reading “Slaughter on the roadways”

Fatality trends

The Sacramento Bee today had an article titled Fatal wrecks decline across Sacramento region. I was curious about where the data came from, and asked the author, Phillip Reese. He pointed me to the FARS (Fatality Analysis Reporting System) database. With reluctance, I finally dove in to this database which I’ve long been curious about but afraid of. It is quite hard to use, and it does not allow retrieval of multiple years at once. I compiled a data table of fatalities in the Sacramento region for the last ten years, and the table and graph are below. I used the SACOG region, which includes the six counties of El Dorado, Placer, Sacramento, Sutter, Yolo, and Yuba, so my numbers do not exactly match the four county region used by the Sacramento Bee for the map and 170 number.

The chart shows that there is in fact a downward trend in fatalities in the region, though it is not a consistent decline. Part of the reason 2011 looks good is that 2010 was bad.

Let me say, as I’ve said before, that fatality counts are a mis-measure of roadway safety. The best measure is the rate per vehicle mile traveled (VMT). Injuries are just as important as fatalities because they indicate trends in driver behavior, while fatalities reflect the internal safety of motor vehicles for occupants, and the effectiveness of the emergency medical system in responding to crashes. I will look more at the data, including looking specifically at pedestrians and bicyclists, and the rate for all modes. In meanwhile, here is the data and chart, to be taken with a grain of salt.

chart of traffic fatalities in Sacramento region
chart of traffic fatalities in Sacramento region

Book of Dreams trailer for Cycles 4 Hope

Cycles4HopeAnother bicycle related project was added to the Sacramento Bee’s Book of Dreams holiday effort today. Cycles 4 Hope, a nonprofit organization which serves primarily homeless people dependent on bicycles for transportation, needs to move bikes and tools between locations. The need a larger trailer to do so. This is a great organization who is really making a difference day to day in the quality of people’s lives.

I’ve already made a donation, and I’d recommend that every bicyclist donate. The donations are to a fund managed by the Sacramento Region Community Foundation.

News summary 2012-10-22

Pursuing nonsprawling city growth with major brownfield redevelopment: the Sacramento Railyards (NRDC Switchboard, 2012-10-19)

Sacramento bicyclists: Don’t get ‘Jerry Browned’ (Sacramento News & Review, 2012-10-18)

Pedestrian on I-5 downtown hit by 3 vehicles (SacBee, 2012-10-18)

Event raises $2,700 for family of boys struck by car (SacBee, 2012-10-18)

Cathie Anderson: Folsom could see housing south of Hwy. 50 in 2014 (SacBee, 2012-10-18) Yah! More sprawl! More traffic! More resource use! Yah!