Good news! the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) have finally finished recording 2016 crash reports in their Crash Analysis System (CAS) and it can now be confirmed that 2016 was a below average year for crashes on The Parade.
As noted in a previous blog, Crash Facts, over the 10 years from 2006-2015 there was an average of six crashes on The Parade per year reported in NZTA's CAS [Note 1]. In 2016 there were just three [Note 2]. Two of these incidents involved cyclists. The first was the February 25 crash at the Mersey Street intersection prior to the cycleway being finished. The other was a crash near the Medway Street intersection sometime around Queen's Birthday weekend (but this crash can't possibly be blamed on the cycleway because the cycleway doesn't continue through the shopping centre). The third crash in 2016 occurred sometime in the second half of the year on the section of The Parade between Humber and Mersey Streets but did not involve a cyclist [Note 3].
2016 crash statistics confirm what Island Bay kids and their whanau already know - the cycleway is safe
It's important to note that there were at least two other crashes on The Parade in 2016 that were reported but not recorded in CAS. One was the crash on June 13 that prompted the blog The hypocrisy around cycleway safety needs to stop. The second was the crash on November 9 that prompted the blog Crash facts. The reason these crashes are not recorded in CAS is because they are non-injury crashes and in the case of the June 13 crash the Police did not attend so no report would have been made anyway. NZTA have not been reporting non-injury crashes in their publicly available CAS data since mid-2016 because they currently have a large backlog that they do not expect to clear for over a year [Note 4]. However, even if the two crashes above were included in the data it would still be a below average year for crashes on The Parade.
Even when comparing injury crashes only 2016 was still an average year. Over the 10 years from 2006-2015 there was an average of 2.4 injuries per year (0.4 serious and 2 minor) and in 2016 there were just 3 minor injuries. Two of those injuries were sustained by cyclists. One at the Mersey Street intersection before it was actually completed and the other in the area of the shops, where there isn't any cycleway.
Of course, it needs to be noted that any analysis of crash statistics should be approached with caution. As Professor Alistair Woodward noted in his blog The Island Bay Cycleway – Terribly Important and Nothing New crash data are often "insensitive, partial and slow to come to hand". Yes, there were probably some unreported incidents during 2016, but that's also true of any other year. Also, I don't doubt that some people are now far more alert to crashes and 'near-misses' happening (but that's pretty much the definition of confirmation bias).
A discussion about safety and what is or isn't 'safe' is also complex and something that I explored more fully in my blog The hypocrisy around cycleway safety needs to stop.
Regardless, a first full year of crash stats is an important milestone for the cycleway. It's obviously great news for everybody that there's no evidence to suggest the cycleway has caused more crashes on The Parade or made it any less safe overall (unless you're so blindly opposed to the cycleway that you would like to see people get hurt just to prove a point). I'd fully expect to see this data taken into account as part of the Love the Bay process.
So if safety is no longer an argument against the kerbside parking protected cycleway design then what's left?