This morning I spoke with Officer Andrew Barclay, public affairs officer at the Marin office of California Highway Patrol. That’s him to the right. Officer Barclay was extremely helpful and is clearly interested in helping cyclists avoid harm. He worked in the cycling industry prior to joining the CHP and lamented the many serious cycling accidents he has responded to.
The CHP has jurisdiction over the freeways and the unincorporated areas of Marin County. Unincorporated areas are those that are within the county but not within any city limits. This map from walkbikemarin shows the unincorporated areas in white. Even a quick perusal reveals that the CHP has jurisdiction over most of the major cycling areas in Marin County: all of Lucas Valley Road, Highway 1 all the way from Mill Valley, and the huge swath of land from the headlands to Tomales Point which includes most of Fairfax-Bolinas Road and all of the Point Reyes area.
Officer Barclay gave me the following information for accidents in the unincorporated areas of Marin County, involving a cyclist, during 2013. The statistics are derived from reports filed by officers. A report is taken if there is injury to person or property. If an officer arrived at the scene and no one was present, no report would be filed. E.g. someone driving by thought there was an injured cyclist and called 911 but the cyclist decided it was only road rash and rode away.
1. 87 bicycle accidents, 1 of which was fatal, 5 of which involved no injuries, only property damage.
2. 95% of these accidents occurred in West Marin.
3. The CHP uses coding factors in their reports that indicate causes of incidents they respond to. One of them is that a person was unfamiliar with the area. Officer Barclay said it is common to see that code attached to cycling accidents. People come from all over to ride here and they are not aware of the local hazards. My hope is that this blog will help that situation.
4. When a call comes into 911 about a cycling accident and there are indications of injury, an ambulance will be dispatched as well as the CHP.
We will hear more from Officer Barclay.