Crash Facts

Report: Motor vehicle crashes that involve a bicyclist or pedestrian represent 3 percent of all crashes, but 12 percent of fatalities.

By Barb Thoman, Executive Director

PersonWalking

Every year, the Minnesota Department of Public Safety releases a report about death and injuries on Minnesota’s roads. The 100-plus page report, with the title Minnesota Motor Vehicle Crash Facts, contains information and statistics about crashes—who is involved (car, motorcycle, pedestrian), the likely causes, when and where they occur, etc. I’m always surprised that the annual release of this report isn’t more widely covered in the media.

TLC took a look at the most recent report and summarized the information about bicycle and pedestrian crashes in a new policy brief. The latest report, Crash Facts 2011, found that motor vehicle crashes that involve a bicyclist or pedestrian were 3 percent of all crashes, but 12 percent of fatalities. Over the last 10 years, an average of 40 pedestrians and 8 bicyclists died on Minnesota’s roads annually.

Fatalities Chart 02072013

TLC’s policy brief also addressed information on bicycle crashes that occur, but are not included in Crash Facts. Because of federal reporting protocol, bicycle crashes that occur on public roads but do not involve a motor vehicle are not included. A separate database maintained by the Minnesota Department of Health showed that five times as many people were injured in a bicycle crash as were reported in the 2011 Crash Facts. One of the people injured was my husband, who fell after hitting a rock in a bike lane in Saint Paul. He had surgery to repair several bones in his hand.

Despite ongoing safety concerns and growing rates of bicycling and walking, bike and pedestrian safety has long been underfunded. The new federal transportation law, MAP-21, increases funding for traffic safety. TLC hopes that the state’s new traffic safety plan, which will be developed in 2013, will increase attention and funding for programs and projects that improve safety for bicyclists and pedestrians. Bicycling and walking are good for public heath, the environment, and community livability. The safer it is to walk and bicycle, the more people will participate.

To learn more, including the leading causes of bicycle and pedestrian crashes, read our brief on Crash Facts here.

Read the full Crash Facts report here.