Although the absolute numbers of bicycle crashes in California have long been available through the Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS), evaluating crash risk has been difficult because of poor exposure data — we don’t track the number of miles people ride on a daily basis like we do for automotive traffic. Although statewide data is still limited, researchers from UCLA and UC Berkeley used newly available bicycle count data to better evaluate crash risk. They used this exposure data to better determine what factors (socioeconomic and infrastructure) correlate to higher crash risk.
Red dots on this map show bicycle crashes as logged through the California Highway Patrol dispatch system, January 1 2016 through August 2 2016. This map is updated every 15 minutes. Click map for the updated zoomable view.
What does it take for the Santa Clara attorney to file charges against somebody who runs down a 12 year old boy on a bike?
12 year old Sebastian Lerrick was on his way to school at 7:19 a.m. when Hau’s Nissan Quest struck him from behind, breaking his bicycle frame in two and damaging the Nissan’s front bumper, hood and windshield. The boy was wearing a bike helmet, but he sustained a leg and wrist fracture, a broken jaw, broken teeth and brain swelling, according to a police report. He still suffers traumatic brain injuries, resulting in physical, cognitive, psychological and emotional issues.
Luis Felipe Hau was allegedly speeding down a narrow, bike-laned street with a suspended license, the sun in his eyes and meth in his blood when he steered his Nissan Quest minivan into the boy, resulting in disabling injuries for the boy.
Apparently even this bar is too high; the Santa Clara Attorney’s office declined to bring charges because they feel this case is not winnable in court.
Go ahead and drive like a maniac; the Santa Clara attorney’s office says it’s okay.
Hau’s actions did not constitute reckless driving under the law, [Supervising Deputy District Attorney Cindy Hendrickson] said.
“We could not find a single case where similar driving was found to be ‘reckless.’ The evidence here supports at most a finding that the driver violated two California vehicle codes: unsafe speed for the conditions, assuming the sun impaired the driver’s vision and the safe speed was therefore 0 mph; and improper driving in a bike lane.