The next time you’re in a big city with a bike-sharing program, and you’re worried about riding a shared bike on unfamiliar busy streets, remember a new study out that reports that bike sharing, which has seen rapid growth in the last 10 years, has not led to a death of any cyclists yet.
Using the metropolitan bike shares (like Citi Bikes in NYC or Hubway Bikes in Boston) is safe and fun! While many critics worried that city bike shares would be dangerous, the actual evidence from millions of rides from across the U.S, is that bike shares are very safe.
Bicycle safety experts have long known that the single biggest factor to increased bike safety is an increased number of bikes on the road because motorists become more aware of the presence of bikes, and bike sharing in cities once again proves that point.
Researchers found that bike-share riders tend to get into far fewer crashes than other cyclists, according to a report from the Mineta Transportation Institute, which looked at data from bike-share systems in Washington, D,C., San Francisco, and Minneapolis.
A Vox story on the report has some great links worth checking out, too.
Here is a summary of the study ….
Remember these numbers:
- Bike-sharing systems are in more than 90 cities and riders have taken more than 35 million trips.
- No deaths reported in bike sharing, while the overall estimated cycling fatality rate is 21 deaths per 100 million trips.
Among the study’s conclusions:
- Design matters. Bike-share bikes are heavier and have wider tires, so they are built for rough use and potholes, a big source of accidents for cyclists.
- The bikes have fewer gears, so riders can’t go very fast.
- Their drum brakes perform better when it’s wet.
- They are usually painted bright colors and feature flashing lights, so they are easier for drivers and others to see them.
- Drivers are more alert and usually drive slower in congested city downtowns, so they are less likely to hit bicyclists.
- Bike-sharing often attracts new and inexperienced riders, who are more likely to be cautious and alert.
- Bike-sharing riders use helmets less than other riders. Some say drivers are more careful around cyclists without helmets. With that said, I want to be clear that I ALWAYS recommend that everyone wear a helmet because helmets certainly do help in some situations and helmet-use sets a good example for children who are legally required to wear a helmet.
I recommend reading the full report.
Have you ever used a bike share? If you have, what do you think of the study’s conclusions? What was your experience like? Please share your comments below!
Thanks for reading,