How Police Accident Reporting Practices Affect Bicyclists And Pedestrians

As if the statistics on car versus bicycle accidents weren’t frightening enough, I recently read the following:

“Dart across Washington Street once or twice, and you probably would not pick Boston as the nation’s safest city for pedestrians.

Study after study says it is, though: More people walk to work in Boston than just about anywhere, and the statistics showing that a dozen or so pedestrians are killed in the street every year compare favorably to figures for just about every large city in the country.

So by the standards of the nation’s busiest metropolises, Boston is best. But are the city’s streets really safer than those in, say, Concord?

The short answer is no. The state’s records on pedestrian accidents in Boston capture only a fraction of such accidents here. That is because the Boston Police Department has refused for years to report most crashes — pedestrians, bikes, cars, and everything else — to the Registry of Motor Vehicles. Officers are needed on their beats, police say, not filling out extra paperwork for the state’s databases.”

Continue reading ….

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