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Your Commuting Accident Stats

Old 11-04-15, 10:20 AM
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wphamilton
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Your Commuting Accident Stats

I've been pretty diligent about recording my commuting days and mileage since starting my current job a little over five years ago, and realized that I have a good amount of data to relate to serious cycling accidents. How many accidents have you had, versus how many miles and trips? Are there any other factors common to them?

I have broken a collarbone twice, and one collision with a cyclist left a gash in my forearm which should have had stitches, so I'm calling it three. I'm not counting little spills with maybe light bruising or road rash, because I don't remember more than a few. Only include actual commuting.

So for me: 1160 round trips, 21000 miles, 3 injuries

= an injury every 7,000 commuting miles, or every 387 commuting days

All injuries occurred commuting, and on the way home, and had another entity (car, jogger, cyclist) as a proximate cause. That makes sense since I'm in all types of weather going home, tend to push the limit then, and I'm probably more tired than on other rides.

What are your stats?
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Old 11-04-15, 10:30 AM
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Steely Dan
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i've only had one serious accident in my 8 years of bike commuting. <knock on wood>

i was hit by a bus that rolled through a stop sign 4 years ago. some minor fractures, a lot of bruising/road rash, and a couple deep gashes, but i was extremely lucky/blessed to be able to walk away from it. the bike was killed. the bus was fine.

i don't keep mileage stats because i'm not a stat person, but that's one serious accident in roughly 8 years of near daily bike commuting. if i had to ballpark it, i'd say maybe 35,000 miles.

Last edited by Steely Dan; 11-04-15 at 10:39 AM.
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Old 11-04-15, 10:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Steely Dan View Post
i've only had one serious accident in my 8 years of bike commuting. <knock on wood>

i was hit by a bus that rolled through a stop sign 4 years ago. some minor fractures, a lot of bruising/road rash, and a couple deep gashes, but i was extremely lucky/blessed to be able to walk away from it. the bike was killed. the bus was fine.

i don't keep mileage stats because i'm not a stat person, but that's one serious accident in roughly 8 years of near daily bike commuting. if i had to ballpark it, i'd say maybe 35,000 miles.
About how many commutes was it? I'm wondering if it correlates better with the number of trips than with miles.
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Old 11-04-15, 10:53 AM
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Originally Posted by wphamilton View Post
About how many commutes was it? I'm wondering if it correlates better with the number of trips than with miles.
again, i don't keep track of these sorts of things, but doing some quick and dirty back of the envelope calcs, maybe 1,600 round-trips, or 3,200 one-ways.
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Old 11-04-15, 10:59 AM
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I've had... two "wrecks" in the 3 years I've been commuting daily. The first I was hopping a curb (cutting through a parking lot) in the winter and I couldn't see where the "ramp" was and I missed it, so I got thrown off of my bike into a pile of snow.

I thought it was pretty funny.

The second I took a roundabout much too quickly in the summer on my road bike and the rear end slid out from under me. That gave me a good bit of road rash on my hands, knees and hip. Other than that I was fine.

I probably bike about 5000 miles a year in total (commuting, mountain, and road.) Less that a lot of you, but more than some.
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Old 11-04-15, 11:09 AM
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AlmostTrick
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934 round trips and 22,416 miles in 9 years.

Only accident/wreck was a fall on ice. (non-studded tires) Banged/bruised my hip, elbow and knee pretty good, but was able to continue on my ride once I was done crying.
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Old 11-04-15, 11:26 AM
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Originally Posted by AlmostTrick View Post
934 round trips and 22,416 miles in 9 years.

Only accident/wreck was a fall on ice. (non-studded tires) Banged/bruised my hip, elbow and knee pretty good, but was able to continue on my ride once I was done crying.
Look something like this?:


I've tracked 707 bike-commutes since 2011 for 14,000 miles (est); and a total of 24,000 miles. I have zero collisions with other road users (cars or bikes). I've had scary near-misses (see clip below), and a couple solo slams like the one above. Never injured (beyond bruises) and never damaged the bike.

(language warning... I use all the words Mom told not to use)

KNOCK ON WOOD!!

Last edited by Hypno Toad; 11-04-15 at 11:30 AM. Reason: added the knocking on wood, 'cause y'know it works!
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Old 11-04-15, 11:37 AM
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3 ER visits in 10.5 yrs ~40k miles
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Old 11-04-15, 11:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Hypno Toad View Post
Look something like this?:
Ahhhh, Yeah! Except I went sliding across the pavement after I went down, and when my front wheel hit the edge of the path it twisted my bars around and about yanked my thumb off! It hurt for days. I forgot about that part. Thanks!

It's shocking how fast you can go down when the front wheel slides out on ice. It was over before I knew what was happening!
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Old 11-04-15, 11:40 AM
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I don't keep commuting stats. Been commuting at least part of the week most of the many jobs I have held since around 1970. My commuter bikes that got probably 75% of those miles but a lot of additional miles as well have total ~75,000 miles. 4000 commutes? Crashes? Lots. Wet leaves, snow and ice. My days of no car in New England and Michigan there would be one day every winter that a street would be unrideable and I would crash 3 times just to get down it, (One was solid, very bumpy ice in Ann Arbor. Gave up and walked. Those spills hurt. Another was a 2 mile stretch leaving Boston. Deep, wet, heavily rutted snow. No sidewalk. Had to ride if I wanted to get home.) Those winters were usually 5 spills per.

I haven't had a lot of car crashes. A door opening. Don't remember if that could be considered a commute. Wasn't my usual route but it was my commuter and I could have been coming from work. That was a bad crash. Had a postal jeep right turn me. I made the turn inside its path with the help of contact between our front tires. Close! My elbow was nearly in the driver's face. RR tracks on Seattle's Alaska Way before they ripped them out and beautified the pavement. An unlit bike on a path in Seattle.

Edit: I forgot a fun one! I used to ride across the Ballard Bridge in Seattle on the sidewalk. Every 10-15 feet was a concrete post that intruded into the narrow sidewalk. On the road side was a 15" "curb". I used LowRiders. One morning I brushed the curb with the pannier. Knowing the going over the curb onto the metal grate roadway was not going to end well, I yanked the bars to the right. The right pannier hit the concrete "rail" on the river side, slowing the bike. I went forward and to the right, planting my chin on the large pipe rail at the top. My chin opened up like facial wounds do. Turned my bike around and rode three block to the local hospital and walking into the ER. Discovered that a 7 am workday arrival with a bleeding face will get you very fast attention! 2 stitches and I was back on my bike. Missed a couple of hours of work.

So, no numbers. I've thought about trying to document all my crashes just to get an approximate total, but then think "Waste of time. Why? Obsessive maybe? Probably will never happen. (I can tell you how far all those bikes went and for the past decade, where. Not totally obsession free.)

Ben

Last edited by 79pmooney; 11-04-15 at 11:51 AM.
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Old 11-04-15, 11:57 AM
  #11  
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I don't have exact numbers, I've been commuting since January and so far no serious accidents. I fell from my bike a couple weeks ago (first time riding in rain), but all I got was a bleeding knee.
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Old 11-04-15, 12:01 PM
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I pretty much quit crashing when I stopped crits in the early 70s. It seemed to consist of go fast, turn, mingle, crash, get up, go fast, turn, mingle, crash. I decided I was not well suited to the sport, at least not competitively.

In 1973 I hit a cop car that made a left turn in front of me. I was following a dump truck by about 100 feet. When the dump truck cleared his path, the cop took a left turn into a pizza parlor. I couldn't stop in time. What I learned from that is to assume that all cars that have the opportunity to turn in front of you will do so. It has served me well in both bicycling and motorcycling. Bike was totaled, but I'm sure I could have sold it on Craigs List with the title "Motobecane with steep racing geometry".

In 1976 I got hit by a wobbly wrinkly from Oregon driving an Electra 225. It was a glancing blow and the only thing that went through my mind was "eject the bike safely onto the boulevard strip". Nice road rash on that one. Bike was unscathed. I learned that, aside from looking back, being aware, and listening (one of the reasons I hate Toyota Piouses is ya can't hear them) there ain't much you can do except stay as far to the right as practicable.

In about 20 years of commuting I never had an accident or injury. I did fall down once on a beach bike path, but I was deliberately trying to drift through sand in a corner. Doesn't count.

All in all, I'm doing pretty well with cycling. I've never been killed.

Not even once.

Tom
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Old 11-04-15, 12:15 PM
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I've only had one accident commuting but I will say I'm not a high volume commuter. My accident resulting in nothing more than a bloody knee and was the result of a blowout while on a corner.
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Old 11-04-15, 12:18 PM
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Thinking...

Once got hit by a car entering the street from a parking lot. She clipped my back end, damaged the rear rim, gave me a ride home and paid for the repair... no injury. That was maybe 1995.

Once broke my pedal while accelerating out of a corner on the MUP... body slam, minor scrapes.

Once broke my crank while accelerating out of my driveway... body slam, bruised ribs... helmet saved me from a head wound.

There must be a few more, but nothing serious in 30+ years of commuting.
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Old 11-04-15, 12:48 PM
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I have only been keeping track over the last couple years:

2015: 4000mi, 269 rides, accident free
2014: 5000mi, 306 rides, one accident (too fast on right-hand turn during rain, no ER visit, but probably should have gone in)
2013: Only tracked about half the year, or ~2000 miles worth, 128 rides, accident free
2006-2013: 900-2500mi / year, unknown number of rides, 2 accidents, both involving right hand turns, loose gravel on first, pebble gravel from road work on second.
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Old 11-04-15, 01:14 PM
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I have been lucky. Worse hat has happened to me was I was behind a car at a light. The light changed I and I started moving. The driver in front of me popped the clutch and stopped dead and I smashed a finger between her trunk and my shifter. It bled a lot.
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Old 11-04-15, 01:27 PM
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I've been biking to work regularly for about 8 years. I'd guess around 15000 miles and 1500 trips. In that time I've had two accidents, both in the first year. I've been telling myself that I'm more aware than when I started and that's why my accident rate has dropped.
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Old 11-04-15, 02:50 PM
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Almost done with my 3rd year of mostly full time bike-commuting, estimate 180 days/year x 11mi rt x 3 yr ~ 6K miles, no commuting injuries or accidents that I can recall. (but who knows maybe head trauma made me forget accidents with head trauma?)

My commute consists mostly of straight, wide suburban arteries, with straight, wide bike lanes and buffer-striping, and good visibility. The only touchy part is going under an interstate (and negotiating with all the cars that have to cross the bike lane into right-turn-lanes for the entrance ramps). But I am always hyper-aware there and have never had any problems.

One close call where I have a right turn followed by a quick left, I didn't sufficiently look around when I moved left, fortunately the guy in the pickup behind me was paying better attention. I didn't even realize I was so stupid until he slowly passed me on the right and said out the window (very calmly) "That wasn't very smart".

Oh yeah another close call when I was going through a residential intersection, I had right of way, car on the left had a stop sign. It started to move at the same time a truck was coming towards me in my street, the truck panicked and swerved almost right at me, but recovered back into his lane.
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Old 11-04-15, 02:51 PM
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Just for a visual, these that I have numbers for are charted for the number of miles per injury and the number of round trips per injury (y-axis). x-axis means nothing, just spread out.



We are clustered around 400 to 750 round trips for each injury, and 7,000 to 13,500 miles per injury, with a couple of guys with much fewer injuries.

or this scatter-plot is easier to read, vertical is number of miles and horizontal is number of trips, for each accident of the given person:



So Steely Dan, what's your secret?
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Old 11-04-15, 03:01 PM
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uh oh, looks like I'm comin up on an injury...
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Old 11-04-15, 03:03 PM
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Two, both me by myself on the road. Once I hit a patch of sand, the other I took a corner on a flat front tire. Or rather, failed to take a corner due to a flat front tire. First one, some facial stitches. Second one, road rash on my right forearm, no medical attention (still a bit scarred more than a year later).
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Old 11-04-15, 03:05 PM
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Originally Posted by RubeRad View Post
uh oh, looks like I'm comin up on an injury...
Bearing in mind that we've had several people with no injuries, or very few but no numbers, and they aren't represented on the graph.

But stay vigilant; it's just possible that we reach a threshold after X miles, where we get overconfident about the conditions and that's when it bites us.

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Old 11-04-15, 03:42 PM
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Commuting 3-4x a week for 4 years now. 1 accident, 2nd week I was commuting - a car was following too closely on my left rear and wouldn't pass. I was so busy watching it that I did not see a pothole. Inexperienced as as I was, I shifted my weight forward instead of back and went over my bike as it stopped. I had also left my gloves at home so tore the hell out of my hands, road rash on both legs, etc. Didn't hit my head and the idiot in the car stopped instead of running me over.

Commute is 10 miles each way, minimum.
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Old 11-04-15, 03:54 PM
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I've been commuting for just over 10 years, roughly 9 miles round trip. I've actually gotten better about biking, for the first few years, I'd say I was more like 75%. Now, it's >90% trips by bike. For the first 8 years, I was on a 12-hours shift schedule, so I commuted 7 out of 14 days. Now, it's 10 out of 14, a normal M-F schedule. Anyway, assuming all that, I have commuted close to 12,000 miles by bike (just commuting miles, doesn't count recreational miles). In that time, I've had 1 accident, which was essentially completely my fault. A car turned in front of me closer than I wanted (not close enough to hit me, but closer than I like). I, very stupidly, gave the driver a one-finger salute with my right hand, while breaking to make a right turn with my left hand. Braked too hard, and went over my handlebars. Put my left hand down to break the fall. Rode the rest of the way home (about a mile), but over the next couple of hours, my elbow started hurting more and more. Went to urgent care, and had a hairline fracture in my elbow.

So, one accident; 10 years; 12000 miles.
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Old 11-04-15, 08:05 PM
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Originally Posted by wphamilton View Post
About how many commutes was it? I'm wondering if it correlates better with the number of trips than with miles.
That's a good point. In about 8000 miles, give or take, I've crashed once. Black ice, in the dark, broke a rib. The cause was the conditions (and my neglect of them) more than the distance.
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