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Growth in number of New York cyclists has made cycling safer – study

City has also increased investment in cycle infrastructure in recent years

A new study, released yesterday, has concluded that the growing number of cyclists on New York streets is a likely contributor to positive changes in cycling safety. The New York Department of Transport’s 20-year study also found that there had been a drop in the number of cyclists killed or seriously injured (KSI) in areas covered by the city’s bike-share scheme.

The Safer Cycling: Bicycle Ridership and Safety in New York City study states that the number of cycling trips in the city rose from 51m a year in 1996-2000 to 134m a year in 2011-2015.

In the latter period, there were an average of 12.8 cyclist fatalities per 100 million bicycle trips, compared to 44.2 cyclist fatalities per 100 million trips between 1996 and 2000. This represents a decline of 71 per cent.

This is far from being the first time such a phenomenon has been remarked upon. Back in 2009, broadcaster Jon Snow, the president of Cycling UK, launched the charity’s Safety in Numbers research at Parliament.

The organisation, then known as CTC, said its research suggested that doubling the amount of cycling would lead to a reduction of around a third in the risks associated with riding a bike – partly because riders would become more ‘visible’ to drivers, and also because drivers would be more likely to be cyclists themselves.

The New York Department of Transport study also indicates that the launch of bike-share scheme Citi Bike coincided with a drop in cyclist KSI numbers within the bike share area.

Cyclist KSI declined by 17 per cent within the bike share zone after one year of operation, despite a recorded 8.2 million bike share trips having been made.

It’s worth noting that New York has also increased investment in cycle infrastructure in recent years. Since 2006, the city has added 308 lane miles of conventional bicycle lanes and 74 lane miles of protected facilities.

Annual bicycle trips rose by 150 per cent in this period, while average cyclist fatalities fell from 23.2 per 100 million trips in 2006-2010 to 12.8 per 100 million trips in 2011-2015.

The study found that the vast majority of cyclist fatalities occurred on streets without cycle infrastructure. Between 2006 and 2016, 11 per cent of cyclist fatalities occurred on streets with a bicycle facility.

The vast majority of KSI incidents (89 per cent) occurred at junctions.

Last year, researchers who looked at the city’s cycle infrastructure concluded that bike lanes offered an excellent return on money invested as they simultaneously address multiple public health problems.

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BehindTheBikesheds | 6 years ago
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About time NY got it's shit together, cycling is still a very small1% modal share (IIRC), the original 1993 'A Greenway Plan for New York City' was supposed to bring about 700miles of cycle lanes for NY, even up until 2005 only 216 miles of that had being laid down and by that point it had been renamed the 'Bicycle Master Plan' and was to have 900miles, so only 23% of the lanes were constructed by 2005

The last 5 years alone have seen an extra 300 miles added (As mentioned above) so almost 3 times the previous rate of implementing infra.

Between 2002 and 2010 they found increases in cycling up to 223% in some areas of NY due to cycle lanes being put in place.

Bicycle Parking has increased massively, in 1996 there were only 600 bike parking places in the whole of NY.

here's the DOT PDF for cycling

http://www.nyc.gov/html/dot/downloads/pdf/cycling-in-the-city.pdf

Funnily enough there was a massive focus on helmets for New Yorkers and u14s are required to wear them by law, however they found with the increase wearing there was no drop in KSIs, this just goes to show that infrastructure and curbing people who drive has a massively greater impact on safety and from that greater participation. The 'Citi-bike' scheme had a fairly low helmet wearing rate and as it's not compulsary for adults is one of the reasons for its success which just makes matters better all round.

Now they just need to get the NYPD trained up and take them out of their motor centric bias when reporting incidents. Either New Yorkers are the worst cyclists in the world or the police are massively bias against people on bikes in incidents because the blame is aportioned by far to those on bikes, almost double the sole fault compared to those in a motorvehicle!

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FluffyKittenofT... | 6 years ago
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Interesting, though how can they be sure which way the causation runs? I haven't heard anyone suggest the London bike hire scheme had such an effect.

Also I worry there are some drivers here who would simply call this 'a target-rich environment'.

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Ramz replied to FluffyKittenofTindalos | 6 years ago
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FluffyKittenofTindalos wrote:

Interesting, though how can they be sure which way the causation runs? I haven't heard anyone suggest the London bike hire scheme had such an effect. Also I worry there are some drivers here who would simply call this 'a target-rich environment'.

They can't be sure that there is causation, or indeed that a third factor is causing both. They have just been able to confirm their own bias.

Personally, my money is on the third factor causing both an increase in cycling and greater safety: fully-segregated cycle lanes. 

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me | 6 years ago
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Given the choice of needing to join CTC or BC (for 3rd party insurance for club stuff) I picked CTC.  Not because I'll ever go on one of their rides but because they actively campaign to get more people on bikes which makes it better for all of us.  I've no idea what BC contribute to the wider cycling picture.

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Jitensha Oni replied to me | 6 years ago
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me wrote:

Given the choice of needing to join CTC or BC (for 3rd party insurance for club stuff) I picked CTC.  Not because I'll ever go on one of their rides but because they actively campaign to get more people on bikes which makes it better for all of us.  I've no idea what BC contribute to the wider cycling picture.

You do realise that BC have Chris - I love Utrecht & Copenhagen - Boardman , newly appointed Cycling Commissioner for Greater Manchester, on board, and that the executive of Cycling UK and BC are in contact and divide up the area of interest according to their respective strengths? If you join either you'll be helping to improve conditions. The key to your decision should be to work out  which benefits you personally the most, not which of them are likely to provide the best general cycling outcomes in your opinion. IMO .

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davel | 6 years ago
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This is why I rail against the apathy or 'anti-campaign' attitude on here sometimes...

We know that many people don't cycle because they fear it's dangerous. Making things safer and *appear* safer for all cyclists - no matter how that happens - if it encourages more people to cycle, it makes cycling safer for all of us.

Shrugging your shoulders and saying 'doesn't affect me' to articles about cycling conditions on here isn't any sort of response. Your apathy does affect you. It is an obstacle to safer conditions for you and all of us.

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