A Slice of Anaheim

Keeping our tradition of “slicing the Orange”, we present the latest statistics for Anaheim.

Anaheim is the 2nd worst city for bike collision fatality and injury in the county.

With 13 dead and 1,048 injured since 2001, we sought to unravel a common denominator.

Anaheim Deadliest Streets

Anaheim Deadliest Streets

Here are the roads where bike riders were killed:

Even the happiest place on earth is not immune to deadly collisions as seen by the fatality created by a speeding motorist at Ball and Cast Place in Disneyland last year.

The latest records from Anaheim are from 2/24/12.

Abbreviations used:

FTS = Failed to Stop, FTY = Failed to Yield, FTR = Far to the Right

And now for the pie charts!

Anaheim Killed by Fault

Once again, bike riders are their own worst enemy according to the authorities. Failing to stop, riding on the wrong side of the road, and failing to yield are 3 simple things these riders should have done and had they done so, there would be more bikes on the road today. After all, how often do you hear someone saying, “I wish there were more cars on the road!

Motorists were also guilty of carelessness resulting in an additional needless loss of life by speeding, and generally failing to maintain or exercise proper control of their vehicles.

Bike riders in Anaheim must really like pain because according to the data, they are responsible for over 80% of collisions with motorists. Now I have yet to meet one cyclist who actively looks to get into a collision with a car, truck, or tank, so I would treat these numbers with some suspicion.

Anaheim Injured

If perception is reality, then this reality needs to change and quick. With the 2nd highest death count and 2nd highest injury count, the cycling population of Anaheim is doomed to quick extinction if they keep this up. The causes presented by the data are mostly behavioral, so here’s a refresher:

  • Ride with the direction of traffic
  • Stop at and signs and signals
  • Be Polite, wave as you yield the right of way (a smile always helps)
  • Signal your intentions, let people know what you plan to do
  • Use front and rear lights and reflective clothing to be seen better

Five simple things that you can count on one hand. Master these and watch Anaheim switch sides from one of the worst, to one of the best cities to ride in. It all starts with you.

Yes, there are infrastructure issues as well. For this reason, roadway treatments in one city need to be coordinated with the the adjacent city, and so on. In fact, we looked at all the roadways involved in collisions and found that 20% of all collisions happened on 5 roads. Certainly some room for improvement there, can you guess which roads / streets they are?

An active and engaged Bicycle Action Committee is needed for this city – stat.

Who is willing to rise to the call?

Let us know who you are and we’ll help guide the process transforming Anaheim into a cycle-safe place to ride.

Thanks for your support.

A Slice of Newport Beach

Continuing our presentation of bike rider safety, we present the latest statistics for Newport Beach. We combined the previous charts from other cities, but here we separate injuries from deaths in two charts.

The 1st quarter of 2011 data is almost complete, and the rest of the year continues to be updated.
2012 data is slowly being processed from other counties, but the latest we have for Newport is from August 2011. The NPB PD has not been responsive to our repeated requests for current information, so we’ll show what we have now, and maybe in a year or two the charts will reflect what they input to the system yesterday.

Abbreviations used:

FTS = Failed to Stop, FTY = Failed to Yield, FTR = Far to the Right

And now for the pie charts!

NPB Dead Cyclist CollisionsThe chart represents the 11 fatalities that occurred in this city up to August of 2011. The color indicates who was at fault for the collision as determined by the appropriate authorities.  Newport Beach enjoys the dubious distinction of earning a “Bronze” in the deadliest city category of county competition with Anaheim and Santa Ana earning “Silver” and “Gold” respectively.

Cyclists ignored traffic signals and signs to their demise by failing to stop or exceeding the speed limit and loosing control.

40% of drivers’ fault for killing someone on a bicycle was do to being under the influence, and that’s for those who were caught.

In September, the Daily Pilot ran a story about Newport and bike accidents. While we note that the reporters were able to get current  data from the NPB PD, what the reporters left out of the story is shown below: OTS-NPB

From the California Office of Traffic Safety, the above chart is for their “latest” data from 2010.

Despite the abysmal safety record for anything not on four wheels, Newport Beach earned the “gold medal” by placing 1st from 103 cities of similar size for alcohol involvement in collisions in the city. The good news for those that like to drive under the influence is that Newport Beach ranked next to last in enforcement as can be seen in their arrest percentage and ranking.

True, this data is from 2010 and things may have changed for the better, which is why we asked in the first place.

NPB Injured Cyclist CollisionsThis chart reflects the cyclist injuries within the city. Newport rides mid-pack at 5th in the top 10 cities injurious to your riding pleasure.

Clearly cyclists are at fault for the majority of collisions in Newport by riding on the wrong side of the road, not far enough to the right, failing to yield or stop, and failing to, CVC22109: “stop or suddenly decrease the speed of a vehicle on a highway without first giving an appropriate signal”.

Bicycles can be stopped faster than a motor vehicle, which makes us wonder; were the drivers following too close? Typically the presumption of fault is on the rear-most motorist  in a chain reaction collision. So 101 bike riders stopped as conditions warranted (stop signs, lights, being cut-off, etc.), yet were found “at fault” for failing to give an appropriate slowing or stopping signal?

By now you probably want to know where all the action took place.

Here is an overview of where the cyclist fatalities occurred:

NPB Death Map

The red dots are in the CHP system, while the orange are not.

Here’s the map showing where the injuries took place:

NPB Injuries

The size of the dots have nothing to do with the counts of injury at a particular location. Of interest in this map is the dilemma faced by residents or tourists of the peninsula. Hard to get into, out of, and round about on two wheels it seems. Also interesting is the high count of collisions on Irvine /Campus close to Harbor High and UCI, while no surprise at the “gauntlet” that is Corona del Mar.

Curious about the state of PCH since Newport Beach garnered responsibility for the stretch from Jamboree to Newport Coast, we tried to get data going back to 1996 to provide a balanced perspective on how the Corona del Mar Business Improvement plan is working out for people on bikes traveling through the “improved” area. Unable to get the data in a timely fashion we present:

Cyclist Collision Injuries

This chart shows the number of bike riders injured in collisions in Newport Beach from 2001-2008. This time- frame is chosen to reflect 4 years on either side of the control or “improvement” of PCH.  While things may have improved for the businesses of Corona del Mar, it appears people on two wheels paid the price.

Since we cannot go back we must go forward. The next chart shows a dramatic drop from ’09-10, which the tourism board probably found encouraging. Another drop in ’11 gives the impression that all is well until the realization hits that there’s still another 2 quarters to feed into the chart! Even so, doubling the currently recorded 26 injuries to 52 would put the city on track to have the lowest injury rate since 2003!

Cyclist Collisions in NPB 01-12

Is there data manipulation going on behind the scenes? There’s no way to know, and people seemed conditioned to accept a 2 year time delay in actionable, potentially lifesaving information.

Consider: a policeman fills out a collision report on his handheld wireless gps gizmo, and beams the collision record back to the department complete with pictures. The collision summaries are batched to the state. Minutes later, a collision request occurs at the local station. The request is honored within seconds, yet to receive a response from the state will take 2 years? If someone can explain how this makes sense, saves lives, time, and money we’d love to hear it.

Thanks for your support!

SB 1464 Vetoed by Gov. Brown

Hopes of the Governor signing the watered down “3 Feet Bill“, or Senate Bill 1464 by Sen. Alan Lowenthal, D-Long Beach, were dashed when he vetoed the bill on new-found fears of state liability in the event of a collision. The governor wrote in his veto message that, “Crossing a double yellow line is an inherently dangerous act that increases the risk of head-on collisions”, and noted that the law could result in the state being sued if such collisions occurred. While the section allowing drivers to cross a double yellow traffic marking remains unchanged from its first incarnation, and having been vetted by both houses twice, the Governor’s fear of lawsuit, (or protecting the assets of the state depending on your view) prevented him from signing the Bill into Law.

About 20 other states have a “3 Foot Rule” so there must be some precedent to indemnify the state from  motorist collisions resulting from passing a person riding a bike.

3 foot states

The good news, at least in Sacramento, is that new census figures show less cars being used in the Sacramento area according to an article in the Sacramento Bee.  Highlights of the article:

  • number of households without a car in the Sacramento-area  rose more than 25 percent from 43,700 in 2007 to 55,600 in 2011
  • More than 90 percent of Sacramento-area workers who make more than $25,000 annually and bike to work, also own a car, census figures show.

So despite the lack of a 3 foot safety buffer, there are less drivers likely to infringe on a bike rider’s “space”, and even people that own a car are using their bicycles more. The decreasing number of drivers, or those willing to drive is shrinking the states’ revenue stream from motor vehicle operation.

And we pointed out in an earlier opinion, the trend in decreasing motor vehicle use will create a funding gap for the nation and the state, that will trickle down to the city that we illustrated here.

Perhaps with this growing realization, the Governor signed Assembly Bill 2189 by Democratic Assemblyman Gil Cedillo, Los Angeles, giving undocumented immigrants the right to legally drive in California.

Documents expected to be provided by the President’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program were not approved by California’s list of specific documents to obtain a drivers license, and this Bill adds the documents to the list, thus enabling the undocumented to become documented licensed drivers. Voila! A short lived artificial stimulant is created by increasing the number of people who can legally drive in the state. With the veto of SB1464, are bike riders at risk from these new drivers anymore than they already are?

Assemblyman Cedillo contends that issuing driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants will enhance public safety by ensuring that they are trained and tested, and making it more likely that they will buy insurance. Or not, as the state of New Mexico discovered after passing a similar law.

From the article, New Mexico State Rep. James White said,””The law was originally designed to increase the number of insured drivers and there really is no evidence that has happened.”

Considering AB 2189 may affect as many as 400 – 450,000 undocumented immigrants in the President’s program, Assemblyman Cedillo figures it would apply to less than one in every four undocumented immigrants in California.

All these “new” drivers are more customers for the gas pump and car market to slow the rate of diminishing revenue to state coffers.

While it would be nice for California to join the growing list of states more interested in their citizen’s safety than maintaining the status quo,  commonsense should prevail among road users so that everyone makes it home safely. Statistically speaking, it is still safer to ride your bike down the street than it is to walk across it.

Road Donuts Good for Diet?

Are donuts good for the diet?
When speaking about roadways the answer appears to be yes. Of course, in this case donuts refers to roundabouts such as we see in Orange or Irvine.
When seen from above, roundabouts look like donuts placed at intersections.

City of Orange

City of Orange “Road-Donut” with a park

City of Irvine – Twice as Good

Roundabouts are different than traffic circles in that there no signals or controls. Traffic in the circle has priority, or the right of way over traffic entering the circle forcing drivers to slow down and enter the circle as gaps in existing traffic permits. Because there are no traffic controls the flow is continuous, resulting in increasing the traffic throughput through the intersection.

Properly designed roundabouts don’t allow for tangential entries. All entries point to the center of the roundabout forcing vehicles to decrease their speed to navigate to the right, although some modern designs have flared entries by adding a lane for increased capacity. Pedestrian safety is improved by routing separate crosswalks away from the intersection so they only have to deal with traffic in one direction at a time.

The problem for traffic/ transportation engineers is maintaining the flow-rate to areas downstream of the roundabout so  a shift in congestion (and resulting delays) does not occur.


Roundabouts or gyratories were designed in 1877 by the Architect for the City of Paris, Eugène Hénard. In 1907 the Place de l’Etoile became the first French gyratory, followed by several others in the city. American architect William Phelps Eno designed New York City’s Columbus Circle which was built in 1905. The main difference in the two men’s designs lay in the diameter of the center island. Hénard favored an island of at least 8 meters (26 feet), while Eno favored a smaller diameter. Perhaps it is from here that we have the “Portland” and “Seattle” designs of today.  Regardless, the United States favored traffic circles and rotaries being controlled by signal devices for the rapidly growing automobile population which resulted in such traffic tie-ups that they fell out of favor by the 1950s.

Land values also contributed to the demise of circular intersections because eliminating land consumed by the safer free flowing roundabouts, or signalized traffic circles, meant that buildings could be built with greater density and greater profit.

Today and the Future

After recently taking a look at the intersection of Bayside and PCH, and every intersection along the way to Laguna Beach, the question arises, “could what was old become new again”? Therefore as a thought experiment we present the following ”

Proposed Makeover

Proposed Makeover in Newport Beach

Each blue dot represents an appropriately designed and implemented roundabout built to the highest safety standards and Complete Streets guidelines. Traffic would flow smoothly to and from the coast as well as up and down through Newport Beach, making this area not only a pleasure to travel through (as in commuting) but a pleasure to travel to (as in tourists).

Since this area was bought from the state by the City of Newport Beach, we suggest a serious consideration be made by city planners in their five year planning strategy to accommodate greater numbers of roadway users while increasing their safety on the City’s roads.

While we don’t have the hard numbers, some savings will result from decreased costs of city response to collisions, and elimination of electrical signals and their associated maintenance. With minimal reconfiguration of existing infrastructure, we are confident of the merits of this design. Maybe in a future post we’ll put up some soft numbers to quantify the potential return.

And there you have it, a brief introduction of roundabouts which if applied properly, will serve the County and City well in reducing speed, reducing air pollution, increasing traffic throughput, and most importantly increasing roadway safety for all road users far into the future.