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County Says Cyclists at Fault in Most Crashes

Sacramento County officials say most car-on-bicycle accidents in 2010 were the fault of the cyclist.

Most of them come in with bent rims.

At on Folsom Boulevard, bicycle mechanic Joey Rodrigues has fixed his share of bikes that have been hit by cars.

“I honestly think it’s the people driving on the road [who are at fault],” Rodrigues said. “I don’t think there’s a whole lot more that could be done.”

Last year, Rosemont saw two car-on-bicycle accidents at the intersection of Mayhew Road and Kiefer Boulevard, according to the county. In 2009, the most recent year the California Office of Traffic Safety has complete statistics, the three most dangerous intersections for bicyclists in the entire county were in Elk Grove (Bruceville Road and Laguna Boulevard), Rancho Cordova (Folsom Boulevard and Zinfandel Drive) and the city of Sacramento (Mack Road and Valley Hi Drive).

Meanwhile, Sacramento County officials disagree with Rodrigues, saying most car-on-bicycle accidents in the unincorporated areas are the fault of the cyclist. The county’s Bikeway Master Plan, adopted in April, says bicyclists were at fault in 74 percent of crashes in the unincorporated area last year. Of those crashes, more than half were caused by a bicyclist riding the wrong way.

The county’s plan includes a number of proposals to encourage bicycling and increase safety, with a goal of doubling the number of bicyclists and halving the number of bicycle-related injuries by 2030. It also calls for 1,300 miles of new bicycle pathways and lanes to be built.

Dan Klinker, a Sacramento County Associate Civil Engineer who worked on the plan, said the best ways to increase safety would be educating bicyclists on the rules of the road and enforcing those rules.

“Courtesy between motorists and bicyclists, respecting one another’s rights and obligations on the road would go a long way as well, I think,” Klinker said in an email.

Ryan Sharpe, vice president of Sacramento Area Bicycle Advocates, said Sacramento County has been very car-centric so far.

“The farther you get out from the Sacramento core, the worse it gets because of the way planning has been done for the last 50 years,” Sharpe said.

Click here to see an interactive map with the Sacramento County intersections that had the most accidents in 2009.


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