OCEAN CITY – Data on bike-related accidents in Ocean City is expected to help a resort committee evaluate and improve bicycle safety.
Last Wednesday, Corporal Allen Hawk, vice president of the Ocean City Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee, presented committee members with data on bike-related collisions in town over the past three years.
He noted that in 2016, the Ocean City Police Department reported 21 bicyclists at fault in 29 bicycle collisions, which resulted in six injuries. And in 2017, 16 bicyclists were found at fault in 30 reported bicycle collisions, which resulted in eight injuries and one fatality.
This year, the police department has found 14 bicyclists at fault in 26 reported collisions, which resulted in eight injuries.
“Within that three-year period, we’ve had one fatality,” he said. “But one is too many.”
City Engineer Paul Mauser, president of the committee, questioned what qualified as an injury.
“How do you segway from collisions to injuries?” he said. “Is it classified as a trip to the hospital?”
Hawk noted that an injury is reported when EMS personnel are called to the scene.
“Injury occurs when EMS is called,” he said. “That’s when it generates what we call a separate EMS run number.”
Jana Potvin, assistant district engineer for the State Highway Administration, asked where most of the collisions occurred.
“Is there a certain road or certain section that gets more than others?” she said.
Hawk reported that most of the collisions occurred in “hotspots” along Coastal Highway, notably from 30th Street to 59th Street.
“Most of it has to do with the dynamics of the establishments that are in that area,” he said, pointing out various bars, convenient stores and fast food restaurants.
Councilman Tony DeLuca agreed.
“We talk about that (area) for everything,” he said, “whether it’s median fence or median lighting.”
Following the discussion, Mauser commended Hawk for providing the committee with the collision data.
“We have some clear metrics now for bicycle collisions in town …,” he said. “That’s good data and gives us something to work off of.”