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Earlier this year, City Paper requested all 2014 crash entries from the D.C. Department of Transportation’s Traffic Accident Reporting and Analysis System that involved pedestrians and cyclists. What we got back was basic information on more than 1,110 pedestrian-involved crashes and more than 800 cyclist-involved ones.
The data in TARAS is pulled from PD-10 crash reports from the Metropolitan Police Department; it includes information on the date and time of the collision, the street and “side street” where it occurred, the incident type, the number of injuries and fatalities, and the number of each road user involved. For example, on Dec. 31 at 11:30 p.m., three pedestrians within 100 feet of the intersection of New York Avenue and Bladensburg Road NE were hit straight-on by a driver; all three were injured.
But the information is limited and sometimes incomplete: Twenty-five pedestrian entries and 14 bike entries were unusable because they lacked a cross street. The Washington Area Bicyclist Association argued in a July policy paper that “MPD’s PD-10 crash intake form has several deficiencies that make it difficult for police officers to capture accurately the important details of a crash involving a pedestrian or bicyclist.” Other information that can and should be captured, according to WABA, includes “the location of a non-motorist with respect to the roadway at the time of the crash,” “the action of a bicyclist immediately prior to the crash,” and “whether the bicyclist was using lights.” Executive Director Greg Billing says they haven’t received a formal response from DDOT on the recommendations, which they asked to be included in the two-year action plan.
D.C. police do not make crash incident reports available to reporters, either through their public information office or through the Freedom of Information Act. “Certain businesses may apply for PD-10 reports using FOIA for specific purposes,” an MPD spokesman explains. Some additional general information is provided to the public through DDOT’s Highway Safety Office. Preliminary crash data for 2014 shows that “serious” injuries to both pedestrians and cyclists rose between 2013 and 2014 (from 348 to 404, and 281 to 356, respectively.)
These maps and charts aren’t meant to give a perfect picture but rather a general idea about where and when crashes occur in D.C. —Sarah Anne Hughes
Pedestrian-involved crashes, 2014:
Bicyclist-involved crashes, 2014:
Crashes broken down by time of day:
The total number of crashes in 2014 by time of day and day of week:
More from this issue:- D.C. plans to end traffic fatalities by 2024. Is it ready to take the necessary steps?