Never mind the teens "burned beyond recognition" when their car crashed last weekend in Oakland, the two men killed inside of their SUV on West Tasman in San Jose Saturday night, Mauro Garcia inside of his Chevy Cavalier on I-280 two weeks ago, Kamran Kahn of Daly City inside his pickup truck Sunday morning, Brandt Cannici of San Francisco in a Toyota Landcruiser, and the beat goes on. This just shows how dangerous riding in a car on the road can be.
Cycling in traffic has its risks, as does any other activity, but to call out cycling on the roads as an especially dangerous activity is irresponsible journalism, Mr. Castenada.
The reason it's news, of course, is because injury accidents for cyclists are rare. Take a look at the CHP real time traffic updates for the Bay Area at almost any time of the day and you will see the CHP responding to an injury accident. At this moment, I see two "Ambulance Responding" notations, including one with the heartbreaking report, "CHILD IS UP AND ALERT, PARENT IS NOT."
About 100 to 150 cyclists are killed every year, about a dozen in them in the 9 County San Francisco Bay Area. I support work to decrease the risk of cycling, but compare that against more than 4,000 killed in traffic collisions in California (500 in the Bay Area). The cyclists killed represent slightly more than their modal share would indicate, but it's not anything close to an order of magnitude difference.
A hat tip to my cycling buddies Kit and Murph for the tip. The cyclist was crossing over I-880 on Winton Avenue early this morning when he was struck at speed by a motorist and thrown into the windshield of the car. The cyclist was transported to a hospital with serious injuries. No word on if the cyclist was using lights (it's still dark at 6:30) or how he was positioned in the lane.
Update: Traffic author Tom Vanderbilt notes the passive text used in traffic accident reporting:
Note the passive tense here, rather common in newspaper reporting: It was his Tahoe 'that veered,' deaths 'were caused.' Not, 'he swerved, killing the two drivers.'