Friendswood, Texas has a very small population of only 40,833 residents, and the city has only experienced an average of 3.8 bicycle accidents per year over the past five years. Be that as it may, the number of bike crashes reported in the area spiked in 2022, more than doubling the city’s annual average.
Given its relatively small-town status, Friendswood has not invested much in bicycle infrastructure. It benefits from planning completed by Harris and Galveston Counties, but it has only five short bikeways, with only two more currently proposed.
Friendswood Bicycle Crash Statistics
According to a query conducted on the Texas Department of Transportation’s Crash Records Information System (CRIS), Friendswood only experienced a total of 19 bicycle crashes in the past five years, which are broken down as follows:
- Two crashes in 2018
- Three crashes in 2019
- Five crashes in 2020
- One crash in 2021
- Eight crashes in 2022
Of course, these numbers include years in which COVID-19 has affected daily life. Given the pandemic shutdowns, Friendswood only saw one bike accident in 2021. If you exclude that year, the city shows a clear and steady upward trend in collisions between bicycles and vehicles.
Of equal importance is that the number of bike accidents has grown by 60%, while the city’s population has dropped by 0.9% since 2020. In other words, fewer people are getting into more bicycle crashes.
Bicycle Crash Outcomes
Friendswood has not had a single fatal bicycle accident over the past five years. Still, of the 19 bike crashes reported in that time, 15 cyclists suffered some level of injury in their collisions, and only the remaining four walked away from their accidents unharmed
The injuries sustained by the fifteen riders include the following:
- Three serious injuries that the cyclists required an ambulance for
- 11 minor visible injuries that did not require an ambulance
- One possible injury that caused pain or other symptoms but left no visible marks
Examples of serious injuries include major fractures, major lacerations, and head injuries that rendered the cyclist unconscious. Minor injuries include minor fractures, lacerations, and abrasions, while possible injuries include sprains, strains, and concussions.
Dangerous Times To Ride a Bicycle in Friendswood, TX
Bicycle crashes in Friendswood are beginning to follow a familiar pattern. For example, most accidents reported in the last five years occurred during the afternoon commute, most commonly between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. According to CRIS, over 26% of bike accidents happen during just that one hour of the day.
The most common days of the week for bicycle crashes were shown to be Wednesdays and Thursdays, accounting for four crashes per day, while the least common days, Friday through Monday, only accounted for two crashes per day. Bear in mind that the sample size is very small, and any differences in the number of crashes per day are just as slight.
Causes of Bicycle Crashes in Friendswood, Texas
As per CRIS, bicycle crashes in Friendswood tend to happen for only a few reasons, such as:
Seven accidents, which account for over 36% of Friendswood’s bike crashes, were caused by distracted driving. Distractions can include anything that takes a driver’s eyes, mind, or hands away from the road.
Compounding the problem is that drivers often fail to spot cyclists due to their small relative size and a cognitive bias against seeing them. Also called inattentional blindness, the phenomenon occurs when drivers look and seem aware of their surroundings but still miss cyclists on the road.
Failing To Yield the Right of Way
Six accidents, roughly 32% of the town’s bike crashes, resulted from failing to yield the right of way and were thus blamed on drivers and cyclists.
These crashes happen in a variety of ways, such as:
- Failing to yield to cyclists at yield signs and merges
- Failing to stop at crosswalks occupied by cyclists
- Turning left or right into the path of oncoming cyclists
These crashes sometimes happen due to inattentional blindness and when drivers spot cyclists but try to beat them through the intersection.
Locations of Bicycle Accidents in Friendswood, TX
According to CRIS, some bicycle crash hotspots in Friendswood during the past five years include the following:
Farm To Market 528 and Bay Area Boulevard
Bay Area Blvd is a four-lane road, and Farm to Market 528 is a major six-lane highway. When they come together, they create a busy intersection difficult for cyclists to cross and the site of three bicycle crashes over the past five years.
Farm To Market 528 and Friendswood Drive
Friendswood Dr. is another major four-lane road. Like Bay Area Blvd, its intersection with Farm to Market 528 is often busy and difficult for cyclists to navigate, leading to three bike crashes in the past five years.
Farm To Market 2351 and Edgewood Drive
Edgewood Drive is yet another four-lane road but also one with no bike lane. As a result, drivers crowd cyclists even when they ride near the curb, leading to two collisions between bicycles and vehicles since 2018.
Bicycle Infrastructure in Friendswood
According to the regional bicycle map, Friendswood has very little in the way of bicycle infrastructure.
Farm to Market 528 has a bike lane but lacks any physical barriers to protect cyclists from vehicle traffic. Furthermore, despite the bike lane, nine bike crashes occurred somewhere along this road within the past five years.
The city also has four multi-use trails, primarily in its southern region. Motorized traffic is not permitted on these trails, as they are reserved for pedestrians and bicycles. They run through residential areas and parks, but the city designed them for recreational use rather than commuting, so they do not connect residential areas with any commercial areas.
Friendswood does have two planned bicycle projects. It has presented these plans at open houses, and residents have responded positively toward further bike and hike trail development.
Navigating Friendswood Safely By Bike
Friendswood may not have experienced many bicycle accidents over the past five years, but its numbers are slowly rising. Avoid becoming one of these statistics by exercising caution when riding, especially on Farm to Market 528, and try not to ride during rush hour. Always wear a helmet and watch carefully at intersections.