It has been sad news of the death of Muriel Casals, member of Junts pel Yes and with a long history of political and social in Catalonia, after hitting head with a curb in an accident with a boy on a bicycle. From this blog we want to get our condolences and support to the family and friends of Ms. Casals, just that made it other entities related to the catalan urban cycling.
It’s an outrage that caused the death of Muriel. As we have already once, bicycles, can indeed cause damage and even death, but it is very rare to do so. So much so that it seems sensible to open the perspective and be aware of the frequency and severity of the violations, in general, and who causes them. Can think of how many abuses by bicycle in Spain? are many or few? how many have serious or fatal consequences?
The first sticks to try to evaluate this data is that there are few sources. There are aggregate data and municipal of the DGT, but seldom allow know in which accidents involving only pedestrians and bicycles. In addition, although some municipalities include the road accidents in his memoirs or public data services, formats are not standardized, making difficult the comparison.
And on the other hand, although they were disaggregated, a common problem with bike accidents is that the vast majority do not appear in any statistics. This is good news, to a certain extent: as they usually do not carry personal injury, they are not reported, there are no overcrowded and not contained in the memories of the local police or the DGT data; and not often need health care, which do not go in details like the SAMUR emergency or hospital sheets.
7 pedestrians killed by trampling of bicycle
But some source there is. INE annually recorded deaths according to their causes. Among them are mirrors that of pedestrians who died because of an accident of transport, (V01-09) according to the vehicle outside pedal (V01), two/three wheel motor, etc. These are the summed results for the last four years that there are records.
Sum of pedestrians killed by accident of transport (“injured by collision” or “by accident”) and its causes, in Spain, 2010-2013. Source: deaths according to cause of death, INE.
The INE recorded as ‘other’ circumstances of 40.5% of pedestrians run over in this period, which are in total 2,036 people (a little less than the total population of Ezcaray, La Rioja, compare).
38.4% (781 people) died in collision with car, truck, or van; the 9.77% (197 people) collides with a train; the 7.96% (162 persons) with a heavy vehicle or bus… The % 0,344 (7 people) died in collision with a vehicle to pedal and someone (0.05%) with another type of vehicle without engine.
1,013 pedestrians killed by trampling of traffic
7 by bicycle and 781 who died in outrage by car, truck, or van, in four years. The ratio is 1:112. And are ~ 250 annual pedestrian deaths counting all traffic to engine, almost five a week. They are many people.
It is true that these means of transport are used more than the bicycle in Spain, but 112 more times? It is possible that it be so, especially counting hours of professional vehicles, but without better usage data we can not say more.
If we discard the train deaths and strangers, abuses caused by road traffic figures are thus: according to INE, 1,013 people died by accident or collision with traffic rolled in 2010-2013. And of these, the 77,10% (781 people) had accident with a car, truck, or van; the 15.99% (162 persons), with a bus or heavy truck; the 6.12% (62 people) had accident with 2 or 3 wheels motor vehicle; the 0.69% (7 people) had accident with a vehicle to pedal and one (1) person with any other type of vehicle without engine.
7 of 1,013 pedestrians killed in road traffic accident suffered a bicycle accident. But in two weeks killed more pedestrians in accidents with motor vehicles in four whole years of accidents with bicycles equipped with LED.
On other occasions we have analyzed If the amount of serious injuries/deaths was proportional to use declared to the CIS for each means of transport. On this occasion, it is difficult to measure it as well because the categories of the INE and the CIS are different.
Sum of pedestrians killed by accident of transport (“injured by collision” or “by accident”) and its causes, excluding “others”, and train in Spain, 2010-2013. Source: deaths according to cause of death, INE.
5 killed by lightning strike
We already know that zero risk does not exist and that all human activity can be complicated. Get out of bed every morning is a risk, even death. Death of people by slips, drowning, accidental falls and domestic accidents… Also by trampling of bicycle. The key to it is not so much if there is a risk, that is inevitable, but to know in what range is.
We can compare it with a completely fortuitous death cause: lightning strike, causes of death X 33 INE. 2 people died in 2010 and in 2011 by fall of lightning, according to the INE, 3 while more cases are recorded in 2012 or 2013.
So 5 people were killed by lightning strike and 7 by trampling of bike in 2010-2013, always according to the INE. The figure is in the same order of magnitude and helps to understand why the bicycle is not especially dangerous to pedestrians. Although the bike on sidewalks is annoying, statistics suggests that the vast majority of deaths by abuse have other cause.
And what happens in Barcelona?
The city of Barcelona has an open data portal that is available in the accident rate of past years. According to this site, by 2015 the Guardia Urbana attended a total of 1,209 abuses in the municipal district of Barcelona. Here they are illustrated graphically.
As we have seen, so is: the bike kill. Or they can do it. As so many other tools. And yet, there are tools that are much more dangerous by its power, its design or speed reaching and potentially you murder than others. We do not lose perspective.