IPR program(s): IPR News Features
Date: August 22, 2011
By Bob Allen
The number of accidents between cars and bicycles in Traverse City continues at a record pace. So far this year there have been 23 crashes. That could top the peak of 28 in 2008 by the end of the year.
Russ Soyring, the City Planner and an avid cyclist, says the city is becoming more bicycle friendly with bike lanes and bike paths.
“I think what we’re doing is we’re creating an environment where more people are feeling comfortable getting out,” he says. “But the sheer numbers of bicyclists is going up and that’s the reason our crashes are going up as well.”
But Fred Schaafsma (SHAFFS-muh) with Cherry Capitol Cycling Club says that’s only part of the reason.
He says unsafe intersections are where some of the more serious crashes happen.
“Certainly more people are using bicycles that’s true. Should that result in potential harm? Absolutely not. And we’ve got to improve the infrastructure and crossings including lights are part of that,” he says.
A report from city police lists bicyclists at fault twice as often as motorists, but Schaafsma says he knows of two crashes where bicyclists were injured and mistakenly listed at fault.
The City Commission will discuss the issue in a study session tonight.
Russ Soyring says if more tickets are given out for not following the rules of the road that may change behavior.