Two recent fatal bicycle accidents have spurred debate between bicycle safety advocates and some motorists who believe bicyclists are to blame for most accidents. While many people agree that drivers and cyclists must share the road and follow the new Pennsylvania bicycle safety law, the issue of who's to blame for crashes remains a hot topic of discussion.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette recently released six years of crash data, shedding light on accidents that have happened throughout many traffic-laden areas of Pittsburgh.
There were 361 accidents involving bicyclists and drivers in Pittsburgh between January 2006 and July 2012 (according to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation). Bicyclists were found at fault for half of the recorded accidents, but only 1 out of 10 collisions resulted when a cyclist ran a red light or stop sign. More than 15 percent occurred when motorists made careless turns, failed to yield, or sideswiped a cyclist. Data also showed that cars are four times more likely to sideswipe a bicycle than vice versa.
While the two most recent fatal bicycle accidents occurred within a block of each other on Penn Avenue in Point Breeze, many bicycle accidents occur in other high-traffic Pittsburgh neighborhoods such as Oakland, Shadyside, Bloomfield, and the Strip District.
City officials and traffic safety advocates continue to work toward a solution to make city streets safer for both drivers and cyclists. Future options include more bike lanes and even a bike path set apart from the road by barriers.