Bike share and bike lanes increase cyclist safety, finds US study

Carlton Reid
Bike share and bike lanes increase cyclist safety, finds US study

New research shows that cities which have bike share schemes coupled with protected bike lanes see an increasing number of people riding bikes, with the risk of death or injury declining for each individual bike rider. The research was carried out in seven US cities by NACTO, an association of 46 North American cities formed to exchange transportation ideas, insights, and practices.

Equitable Bike Share Means Building Better Places for People to Ride finds that cycling is getting safer as more people ride. In five of the seven US cities NACTO surveyed, the number of bicyclists killed or severely injured declined from 2007 to 2014, even as bike ridership rates increased. Additionally, even in the cities where the number of bicyclists killed or severely injured increased over the time period, that rate is rising at a slower pace than the increase in cycling itself. This decline in risk comes at the same time as ridership rates in the cities surveyed have more than doubled. All seven cities have invested in protected bike lanes, as well as other meaures.

Previous US research has shown that adding protected bike lanes significantly increases bike ridership on those streets, with rates ranging from 21 per cent to 171 per cent.

The NACTO report finds that bike share programs increase the visibility of cyclists, making riding safer for everyone. Appropriately scaled bike share systems can dramatically increase the total number of people on bikes in a city and help build political momentum for bike lanes, says the report.

“NACTO cities are leading the way on safety and this new analysis makes it clear why,” said Seleta Reynolds, General Manager of the Los Angeles Department of Transportation and NACTO President. “Each new facility we put down multiplies our investment in our city streets. High-quality bike lanes attract riders and are essential to increased safety for everyone.”

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Martha Roskowski, Vice President of Local Innovation at the bike industry organisatio PeopleForBikes said:

“NACTO’s analysis confirms our experiences helping cities build protected bike lanes through our Green Lane Project. People of all ages and abilities, genders, ethnicities, and incomes show up when cities create safe and comfortable places to ride. By connecting the dots between better infrastructure, bike share, safety, and better communities, NACTO has created a valuable resource for cities and supporters everywhere.”

 

 

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