Cascade Bicycle Club in partnership with standout Web community-builder Phil Mitchell has inaugurated a group Web site (mashup) to track bike hazards, thefts and accidents. The aim is to alert the cycling community and city authorities to problem areas with the hope that something can be done to ameliorate them.
The site is called Bikewise.org. Anyone can register and log in. From there it’s a matter of posting one’s experiences. The reports then get mapped by street address and categorized by type of incident, for quick reference and a sense of geographic proportion.
It’s a great reference tool, but will need wide participation to make it effective. Accident victims are asked particulars that will contribute to an effective database for public use.
One possible extension: Link incident report addresses to Google’s street views (where available). A friend, Chuck Taylor, did this after he was hit by a car recently at Pacific and University Way on the Burke-Gilman trail corridor. It’s a highly effective way of showing the exact circumstances of an accident, but could be done with hazards and thefts as well.
All comers are encouraged to sign in and post reports. It’s a great way to build local knowledge as well as warn your fellow cyclists of potential trouble spots.
Here’s the site’s descrip:
“Crashes: It’s estimated that 75% or more of all crashes go unreported. We believe that by gathering detailed information on how and why crashes happen, we’ll be able to ride smarter. Also, we hope that knowing where crash hotspots are will help us to identify issues with traffic behavior and road design.
Hazards: How many times have you ridden past a dangerous sewer grate or overgrown vegetation and wished there were someplace to report it? Now there is. We aim to not only collect hazard reports, but to pass these on to the appropriate authorities. (Please note: we’re still putting this part of the system in place.)
Thefts: Tracking where and how bikes get stolen is a key part of making preventing thefts. We’re currently working on other pieces of this system, so that if your bike does get stolen, you have a better chance of getting it back. More to come on that.”