Lies, damned lies & statistics

When it comes to getting your point across, there are few things more useful in making your case than a well presented set of data.

However, whilst statistics can be used to reinforce your case, the same data can also be used to undermine it.

Bodycount

When we talked about getting a close pass scheme here in Cardiff, the one thing that appeared to be our undoing is that too many of us were getting to work and school alive. If you look at the data it is indeed the case that most of us manage to survive the morning commute. It may be scary as heck, but we are at least surviving.

Cyclestreets has created a really useful map called Bikedata (once again using OpenStreetMap) that marks out where all of the reported incidents have occurred, including where the fatalities have been. Whilst the initial decision to not implement a close-pass scheme based on such a metric seemed unspeakably callous, the data did at least support this notion that cycling is safer than it sometimes feels.

Fortunately it was a decision that changed with a little help from our friends…

Operation Close Pass is being planned now, with equipment arriving and training being completed during December to tie in with the other initiatives, then it will be rolled out officially in the New Year. – via Cardiff Cycle City

On the other hand, having these incidents marked on a map can also be used in our favour. When it comes to making junctions safer –and let’s be honest, it’s at junctions where a lot of these incidents happen, we can look at the map and pinpoint where the priority areas are.

Roundabouts are notoriously difficult for we two-wheeled few. Look at the fatal collisions on the map and you’ll see that one was on a roundabout, and two were very near. Dial back to fatal/serious and you’ll see that many are at junctions in fairly notorious spots.

If there are clusters of incidents of varying degrees in your area, or somewhere near where you work, you can write to your Councillor, point to this and ask them to fix it.

Disturbingly, if you filter the map at the link above to only show serious and fatal incidents, many of them fall on the blue lines. Believe it or not, these blue lines are actually “cycle routes” that you’ll find on the councils Enfys cycle map.

Whilst it may be true that this is where you will find the majority of riders in Cardiff it is clear that protection offered by these routes leaves a lot to be desired and the council’s new strategy cannot be implemented soon enough.

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