Understanding Bicyclist-Motorist Crashes

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Key Findings from 2003-2012:

When crashes occur:

  • An average of 155 bicyclist-motorist crashes occurs annually in Louisville.
  • Crashes are most prevalent from April-October (80.2 percent), on weekdays (76.9 percent) and during afternoon peak period from 3:00-6:00 p.m. (30.3 percent).
  • Crashes mostly occur on clear or cloudy days (94.4 percent), when the road surface is dry (91.8 percent).

Who is involved:

  • Most vehicles on the roadways excluding bicyclists are passenger cars (66 percent) and light truck/sports utility/pickup (24%).
  • Bicyclist age is tracked for 2000-2012 data. The cohort aged 25-34 was the most prevalent - involved in 15.2 percent of crashes.
  • Crashes involving known drug use or drinking are limited. Bicyclists are impaired in 1.2 percent of crashes and motorists in 1.2 percent of crashes.

Injuries and fatalities:

  • Bicyclists sustained an injury in 62.8 percent of crashes.
  • There were 16 bicyclist fatalities from 2003-2012. Non-incapacitating injuries were sustained 31.3 percent of crashes.

Causes of crashes:

  • The most common pre-crash maneuvers for bicyclists in 2006 were going straight ahead (87.5 percent), bicyclist making left turn (2.5 percent), bicyclist parked (2.5 percent), and bicyclists going the wrong way (2.5 percent).
  • The most common pre-crash maneuvers for motorists in 2003 were vehicle going straight ahead (49.2 percent), vehicle making left turn (16.3 percent) and vehicle making right turn (14.3 percent).

Where crashes are occurring:

  • Crashes occur in all areas of Louisville, although there is a clear concentration along major arterial with high volumes of motor vehicles.
  • The highest crash volume intersections in 2012 are Eastern Parkway and Bardstown Road (14), Bardstown Road and Grinstead Drive (11), Broadway and 2nd Street (8), East Broadway and South Jackson Street (8) and Taylor Boulevard and Oleanda Avenue (6).


The analysis of bicyclist-motorist crashes found that crashes are complex events and there is no one factor that is contributing to crashes. However, four primary conclusions emerge from the data:

  1. Most crashes are occurring at intersections along major arterials.
  2. Motorist are not seeing or yielding to bicyclists.
  3. Bicyclists are failing to yield right-of-way.
  4. Bicyclist inattention.


Recommendations for Improved Bicyclist Safety


Over the past decade, Louisville has made great strides in the area of bicyclist safety. This analysis confirms that many of the improvement made are effective and should continue. The findings also highlight the need for new focus areas, including continued use of best practices in engineering.


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