By Charles Pekow — Development of safety policy has long been plagued by the lack of adequate information about crashes. No databases are complete, as police, hospital and insurance reports are most likely to include only incidents that get reported, which disproportionately involve those involving autos and serious casualties. They also under-include incidents on trails and parks and near misses. Researchers have long been trying to get better data. The latest attempt to find more inclusive data comes in a study in Vancouver, British Columbia published by the Canadian Geographer.
The researchers relied on BikeMaps.org, a tool for self-reporting incidents, crashes, and thefts. “These new data sources can supplement the gaps of traditional datasets, for example by providing more granular incident details and increasing the amount of data available for safety research,” says the study, Spatial Variation in Bicycling Risk Based on Crowdsourced Safety data (https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/cag.12756).
While self-reported data are incomplete, just like the other sources, they did turn up some patterns: the old and the young were more likely to get hurt than those aged 30-49. And riders were more likely to get hurt if they fell off a bike than if they collided. Riders were more likely to suffer injury riding downhill or on streets with parked cars.
The project acknowledged that it did not compare its data with other findings, and they could reflect the biases of those self-reporting using BikeMaps.org.