Bicycle fatalities in N.J. defy overall drop in traffic deaths
New Jersey road deaths fell a bit less than 1 percent to 554 last year — a near record low — but those who rely on bicycles or let others drive for them won’t find much comfort in year-end fatality figures for 2015.
Cycling deaths ballooned 64 percent to 18 last year, the most since 2008, and passenger fatalities rose to 95, almost a 19 percent rise, according to preliminary New Jersey State Police figures. On a more positive note, motorcycle deaths dropped to a record low 49 and pedestrian fatalities fell to 163, but that figure remained well in excess of the previous 10-year average of 152.
“We’re pleased, but we think we can do even better,” said Gary Poedubicky, acting director of the state Division of Highway Traffic Safety.
Before I start my rant I have to say that I’m glad that people are reporting on bike crash stats. The problem is that the reporting is on numbers with no context.
Eighteen cyclist died in New Jersey in 2015, the most since 2008. Yes, but how many people were cycling in 2008 and how many were cycling 2015? Those types of numbers are almost never provided in this kind of article.
And of course the government is taking the usual government response, writing a bill to create a committee to study the situation and make recommendations. Of course the make-up of the committee would be entirely political.
Here’s an idea; It’s New Jersey. Go to Princeton. Have some professor get together some grad students. Let them study and recommend. They have no vested interest and are probably pretty smart.