Bike map offers crash warnings

A spate of bicycle crashes this year — that in some instances were fatal — have spurred an initiative to increase biking safety.

The latest piece of that effort was recently launched on the Boston Cyclists’ Union website.

After city officials released crash data to the Jamaica Plain-based group, it plotted the hundreds of bicycle incidents between May and October to which city EMS responded.

“The main idea behind it, but not the only idea, is that we can improve street design,” said Pete Stidman, head of the cyclists’ union. “That sometimes means bike lanes or cycle tracks or timing of a light at an intersection or right hand turn or left hand turn patterns.”

Stidman said the data has proved that bicycle accidents actually do occur throughout the city and not just in the perceived cycle-minded neighborhoods of Jamaica Plain and Allston.

However, the group warns that despite the hundreds of incidents posted on the map, the sample size is still too small to make complete conclusions. It also warns that some of the information may be incomplete, such as the exact address of a crash.

Stidman said the site will be updated monthly to help advocacy efforts.

City officials said they monitor their own cycling data, which has helped with their strategy of installing more bike lanes and public education.

“We look at our data and their data and that’s helping us develop a good picture,” said Nicole Freedman, of the city’s bicycling program.


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