Sunday, December 9, 2018

2018 Bicycle Fatalities in Review

Before you read any further, take a moment to realize that in the vast majority of fatal and non-fatal crashes the reporting is one-sided – pure and simple. The bias is strong. 

Firstly, the person on the bicycle either can’t give their side of the story because they’re dead or they’re in no shape to give it. Maybe they can’t even remember what happened because of the trauma. So who’s in good shape to tell what happened?  The person driving the automobile – that’s who. Then look at pretty much any news article or police media release on bike vs. car crash and look for the bias…it’s not hard to find it. Sugar, your bias is showing.  

This year (2018) was another bad year for bicycle related fatalities in Maryland, with eight (8) people on bicycles being killed on Maryland roadways as of 1 December 2018. While the 2018 numbers were better than 2016 and 2017, they’re still not good – good would be ZERO. Better is small consolation to the families of those killed.

You’ll notice I don’t regularly use the word cyclist – I use ‘person on bike’ or ‘people on bikes’ or the person driving the car. Using the word pedestrian, cyclist, driver move the responsibility away from the person and make the victim, the person somehow less – you didn’t kill a cyclist, you killed a person – a son, a daughter, a husband, a wife, a person – another human being. 

I've been tracking bicycle related fatalities in Maryland for three years now. I started when I became curious about a rash of deaths in the summer of 2016. In 2016, things were rough all over, with 840 bicyclist killed nationwide – the highest number since 1991. Pedestrian deaths were 5,987 nationwide – the highest number since 1990; increasing by 9.0 percent. 

I track these fatalities through media reporting - which can be a little difficult at times - but it provides us, the cycling community, some feedback on what's happening on the roads in a fairly timely basis. Government reporting can be a year or two behind and then you just get the statistics – not the person on the bike, not the mechanics of the crash – not accident – crash, and certainly not the personal impact on the community. 

Some things to take to heart – the majority (10 of 12) of the riders killed in 2017 were hit between sunset and sunrise. That looks to be the similar for 2018 – 7 of the 8 were killed between sunset and sunrise.

2018 Fatalities (Read: Date / Name / Age / Area)

7-May-18    //  Eduardo Madrid    //  38   //  Berlin, MD

25-May-18 //  Thomas Gerald Cofiell   //  53   //  Catonsville, MD

6-Jun-18     //  Paul Lentz   //  72   //  New Midway, mD

26-Jun-18    //  Joseph Pesce   //  64   //  Chesapeake Beach, MD

4-Aug-18     //  Unknown   //  Unk   //  Tanyard, MD

13-Sep-18    //  Mariyln S. Weaver   //  27   //  Loveville, MD

16-Sep-18    //  Mario Yattum   //  33   //  Lanham, MD

7-Nov-18    //  Unknown    //  47   //  Wheaton, MD

Maryland Bicycle related fatalities (2010-2017)
(Read: Year / # Deaths)
2010 /  8
2011 /  5
2012 /  5
2013 /  7
2014 /  6
2015 /  10
2016 /  16*
2017 /  12*
2018 /  8*

* fatalities from media reporting. Official numbers may end up being higher.


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