bikecrashI’ve been getting used to the streetcar tracks and how to navigate. I might have even been getting a little complacent about them.

Last week I witnessed my first streetcar crash and saw the aftermath of a second, which served as a reminder that one mistake can lead to a crash.

In both cases the bike riders who crashed were University of Arizona students. (See the comment from the father of the young man.)

In the first the young woman was crossing the tracks on Second Street to make a left turn onto Park Avenue. She crossed the tracks at a shallow angle and was thrown from her beach cruiser.

She was unharmed, but her bike was broken and unridable, though repairable.

The second, was less clear because I rode past the crash after it happened, though it seemed more serious.

According to a comment from the young man’s father in the comment section below the tracks took him down after avoiding a motorist who was driving toward him and then drove away after the crash.

Living Street Alliance launched a crash reporting tool on their website more than a year ago. So far they have received 70 reports.

I’m glad the people I saw weren’t seriously harmed, but it is a reminder that the tracks are dangerous.


5 thoughts on “Photo: Streetcar crashes reminder of track danger”
  1. The thing to remember is that none of these crashes on the streetcar tracks will ever be reported to ADOT.  There are 8 criteria which must be met to warrant a police officer filling out an Arizona Crash Report form.
    Did the incident include one or more occurrences of injury, death, or damage? Was there at least one occurrence of injury, death, or damage that was not a direct result of natural disaster?Was there bodily injury, death, or damage to the property of any one person in excess of one thousand dollars? (See Arizona Revised Statute 28-667).Did the incident involve one or more motor vehicles?Of the motor vehicles involved, was at least one in transport?Was the incident an unstabilized situation?Did the unstabilized situation originate on a trafficway or did injury or damage occur on a trafficway? If a motor vehicle in transport collided with a railroad train, did the collision occur at or near a railroad crossing?

    Bicycle Vs Tracks crashes fails criteria #4, probably #6 as well because the tracks are roadway feature.
    The City of Tucson uses ADOT data.  PAG does too.  It’s considered the authoritative source for crash statistics.  And using that data, the streetcar tracks are the safest things in the world.

  2. This photo shows my 15-year-old son, Linus, after he crashed while trying to avoid a pickup truck that was headed straight towards him after it turned onto University Blvd. west of Park Ave. He suffered a broken arm in the fall. He had ridden out of the traffic lane to avoid the truck, then got stuck in the tracks while maneuvering around a construction truck parked in the center lane. 
    This intersection recently was changed from a 4-way stop to a regular red-green traffic light. This may have had something to do with the driver’s misbehavior. No way to know, as she drove off completely oblivious to the carnage.

  3. “In both cases the bike riders who crashed were University of Arizona students.”
    Damn. College at 15. That’s some good parenting there.

  4. @David F Thank you for the clarification, David. I’m sorry your Linus went through this ordeal, but am glad it wasn’t more serious. 
    Is there any information on the pickup truck? Maybe we could try to track it down. Of course the police will only do anything if Linus can identify the driver.

  5. Can’t see the bike in the photo, but having ridden by the streetcar tracks many times, I am always glad I do not ride a skinny tire bike, and instead ride a city bike with wide tires (2.35″).  Not the fastest tire, but surely better for keeping the wheel from getting caught by the tracks.  Anyone that rides a lot knows how easy situations like the truck avoidance described in the comments for this accident occur – usually when you least expect it.

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