Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Confirmation - More Bicycles on the Road = Safer Cycling Environment

My neighbor, Hank Green of, came across an interesting graph courtesy of Treehugger. In this short article here Treehugger shows the relationship between the number of people taking to the road on bicycles and the number of annual injuries and fatalities.

Essentially, the graph shows that between 1998 and 2008 the number of cyclists on New York City streets roughly doubled while annual casualties dropped from roughly 5,000 to under 3,000. This is something that many bicycle advocates have been arguing for some time now. The original article out of The Atlantic Magazine is conformation of this relationship.

Now... there is more going on here than just increased numbers bringing about increased safety for cyclists. The increased demand from bicycle commuters has corresponded to an increased supply of bicycle facilities on NYC streets and the inclusion in the design process of road features that makes cycling a more attractive and safe option.

Whatever other factors contribute to the decrease in cyclist fatalities, the situation in NYC is something that all bicycle and alternative transportation supporters should take note of. Just from my own and other people's experiences in the parts of Missoula - where cyclists have become normal and even clog the bike lanes at certain times of day - there is an increased awareness of and respect for cyclists coming from motorists. However, in parts of town where cyclists rarely venture, the slaughter continues, on streets like Reserve - a five lane expressway.


Anonymous said...

The conclusion might follow if everything else were held equal in the intervening decades. But other things have been changing too.

Remember, correlation does not prove causation.

CarFree Stupidity said...

I realize that, and I mentioned that other things had helped this situation and Treehugger aknowledged this too. Elements like more bicycle infrastructure, more educatuin, and better design have all contributed to the decrease in deaths. There is a relationship present, and this not being an academic blog, that's good enough for me.

Bookmark and Share