BLOOMINGTON, IL – November 10, 2015 – Bike crash data can teach people a lot about how to stay safe.
After this summer’s incident in which an aggressive driver intimidated a group of people on their bikes on a rural road outside of Hudson – ultimately sending one to the hospital – Bike BloNo partnered with Data Scientist Mike Bernico and built a coalition of stakeholders to answer important questions, like “where are the most dangerous places for people on bikes in our community?” and “what are the best ways to stay safe?”
The first step in answering these questions was gathering police reports. The City of Bloomington, the Town of Normal, and the McLean County Sheriff each provided 18 months’ worth of reports on crashes involving a bike and a car. Bernico distilled the data from those reports and published the results at http://bikeblono.org/crashdata/
“An important finding for our community is that riding a bike on the sidewalk is one of the most dangerous things people do,” says Bike BloNo board member Michael Gorman. “It turns out that, while it is probably safer for children to stay off the road, as an adult, the safest thing you can do is to ride with traffic – behaving like a car and following all the same rules of the road that you would if you were behind the wheel.”
“Open and available access to public data is key to understanding and improving this and other civic challenges,” says Bernico. “Open Data, Math, and Statistics are tools we can use to understand the world around us and hopefully make it better. That’s what a Data Scientist does, and I’m happy to have the opportunity to bring that idea to the public domain.”
Bike BloNo has partnered with other local groups to compile and publicize this data on an ongoing basis. Partners include the Friends of the Constitution Trail, the McLean County Wheelers, and the Bloomington Cycle-Coffee Hound Race Team.
Bike BloNo is an advocacy group promoting the bicycle for everyday transportation in Bloomington-Normal. The Friends of the Constitution Trail works for expansion and beautification of the trail. The McLean County Wheelers is a club of cycling enthusiasts in Central Illinois. The Bloomington Cycle-Coffee Hound Racing Team is a team of riders who live, love, and want to grow cycling in the Bloomington-Normal area.