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How the New York Bike Share program can lead to safer cycling

Posted by Smiley & Smiley on Jul 5, 2013 12:04:05 PM

In May, we discussed growing concerns that the new NYC Bike Share program could ultimately inspire more safety hazards than benefits to the community. Thankfully, as the program grows it seems to be inspiring a safer NYC crosswalk culture rather than creating a greater accident risk for cyclists, pedestrians and motorists alike.

Certainly, several bicycle accidents have occurred since the start of the Bike Share program. However, the prevalence of these accidents is more likely to decline over time than to increase. As the dean of nursing at the University of California, San Francisco recently explained, “A number of studies have looked at increased biking, and the result is that the more people bike in a community, the less likely they are to collide with motorists. It is likely due to motorists becoming more aware or expecting more to be riding bicycles.”

In addition, safe cycling practices tend to be more ubiquitous in areas with a high ratio of cyclists. When the cycling community becomes a presence, it inspires new cyclists to follow its lead. Given that experienced cyclers tend to wear helmets, maintain safe speeds, use hand signals while turning, etc. this influence can only serve to benefit both new cyclists and everyone else sharing the road.

Finally, as the Bike Share program transitions from a novel to an established presence, motorists and pedestrians will begin to more consistently avoid behaviors that can cause bicycle accidents. Just as motorists have increasingly learned to remain aware of pedestrians, so will others learn to be aware of cyclists. The Bike Share program is not perfect, but it is slowly becoming a truly positive and safe NYC presence.

Source: New York Times, “Bike Sharing Can Mean Safer Biking,” Sophie Egan, June 13, 2013

Topics: car accidents

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