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There Were Fewer Bicycle Collisions In Louisville This Summer, Data Show

Cyclouvia 2012
Cyclouvia 2012

Good news for cyclists: There were fewer traffic collisions involving bikes and riders this summer compared to last, according to data from the Kentucky State Police.

There were 59 incidents between Memorial Day and Labor Day in 2017, and just 32 in the same time period this year, according to a WFPL analysis.

That doesn't include the fatal hit-and-run last week near Westport Road because the Kentucky State Police's online database operates on a delay. Figures through Labor Day weekend were not yet available, either.

There was one cyclist killed last summer and, prior to last week's incident, one killed this summer, according to KSP data.

Chris Glasser is executive director of Bicycling for Louisville, a group that advocates for improving city infrastructure for cyclists and pedestrians. He said Louisville has made modest strides in the past five years, but that more money is needed to invest in facilities such as bike lanes.

People should be upset about cycling fatalities, just as they are about shooting deaths, he said.

"There is not enough outrage. I'm outraged at the lack of outrage," Glasser said. "These deaths are preventable and we choose not to prevent them."

But he said it would be wrong to put too much stock into the year-over-year decrease in collisions. It may have been a fluke. He couldn't think of a recent project that would account for the drop.

"We have a long way to go before we really have a strongly bike- and pedestrian-accessible city," he said.

The addition of bike lanes to East-West roads such as Main St. and Market St. is one idea that could make roads safer for cyclists, Glasser said.

Louisville Bicycle Club president Andy Murphy was optimistic that drivers may be more aware of cyclists on the road. But he said riders still need to operate with caution.

He said he's seen some cyclists riding the wrong way on one-way streets, or riding without helmets. He warned against that behavior, and said it's important to use common sense.

"You're best served when you act like a vehicle on the road," he said. "Don't run stop signs, don't run red lights, wait your turn."

Most of the collisions in both summers occurred inside the Watterson Expressway.

There were relatively more injuries per collision this summer, compared to the same period last year. In the map below, diamonds mark injuries and open circles mark fatalities, with blue indicating the summer of 2018 and orange the summer of 2017.

Amina Elahi is LPM's City Editor. Email Amina at aelahi@lpm.org.