A recent report put out by Business Insider ranks Phoenix as being one of the top ten deadliest cities for bicyclists. The latest preliminary figures for 2018 issued by the US Department of Transportation (DOT) that was issued last month indicates that bicyclist fatalities across the country have increased by 10%.
According to a report by ABC 15 in Phoenix, researchers at the DOT looked at the population, the number of traffic fatalities, and the percentage of those traffic fatalities which involved a bicyclist. In 2017, there were 249 bicyclists or 6% of the fatalities reported within the city.
Bicyclist Nikolas Lyneis, who moved to the city a decade ago isn’t surprised. He told ABC Phoenix reporter, Meagan Thompson, that in that time he has been hit a total of three times since he moved to the city ten years ago, with many more close calls with motorists. The initial figures released by the US DOT seemed about right to Lyneis. “Honestly, it doesn’t surprise me,” Lyneis said.
Ashley Patton, with the Street Transportation Department in Phoenix, told ABC that recently Phoenix City Council had approved an accelerated pavement maintenance program as part of the city’s Transportation 2050 plan. Under the plan, Phoenix intends to add an estimated 30 -35 bike lanes per year, totaling up to 1,080 bicycle lanes added by 2050.
“..with that program, we are paving three times the streets that we normally would,“ Thompson said. “So, with that, a freshly paved street is a blank slate. So, that’s a great opportunity for us to add bike lanes.”
By adding green paint to existing city streets to act as a buffer between motorists and bicyclists, Phoenix city officials hope that it will keep more bicyclists safer while traveling around the city.