2015 | News

County Report Finds Drivers At Fault In Most Bicycle Collisions

A report on collisions involving bicycles and vehicles in Montgomery County shows drivers are found to be at fault most of the time, including in downtown Bethesda.

CountyStat compiled statistics from Montgomery County Police and the Department of Transportation for the report, which it first presented in December.

From 2009-2013, there were 20 bicycle and vehicle collisions in downtown Bethesda after which police determined the driver was at fault. That represents 54 percent of bicycle collisions in the area.

Bicycle-vehicle collision locations in Bethesda CDP, via CountyStatPolice deemed bicyclists were at fault in 13 incidents, about 35 percent. There were two cases in which both the bicyclist and driver were at fault and another two cases in which fault wasn’t determined.

Countywide, drivers were at fault 58 percent of the time in 2013, 57 percent of the time in 2012 and 47 percent in 2011. Almost a third of the driver-at-fault collisions from 2009-2013 were at a 90-degree angle, indicating the driver was turning when the collision happened.

There were few other discernible trends in the countywide data. There were 100 bicycle and vehicle collisions in 2013 in Montgomery, 141 in 2012, 125 in 2011 and 140 in 2010.

Each year had one bicyclist fatality. Numbers from 2014 weren’t available because of an ongoing transition in the state’s collision reporting system.

One constant trend was the increase in bicycle and vehicle collisions during the evening commute. Countywide, 27 percent of all collisions happened between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. in the five-year period.

About 70 percent of bicycle and vehicle collisions happened outside of MCDOT’s designated Bicycle Pedestrian Priority Areas, which include the Bethesda Central Business District, Medical Center Metro station and North Bethesda.

Six percent of all county collisions from 2009-2013 happened in the Bethesda CBD and 3 percent in the Medical Center priority area.

A Planning Department report released last year found downtown Bethesda had the highest level of bicycling activity in the county. It also found 17 of the top 19 intersections with the highest observed bicycle trip counts were in the larger Bethesda area. 

Images via CountyStat