Thursday, May 12, 2011

Because I Want to Keep You Out of the Hospital

Having just issued our report documenting that Philadelphia has twice as many bike commuters as any other big city in the US, I have spent a lot of time this week making the argument that we need the new north-south bike lanes in Center City to meet current demand. But crash statistics just released by PennDOT make a compelling new argument for buffered bike lanes -- they keep motorists out of the hospital. Significant crashes, those that cause a trip to the hospital or enough damage to the car to require a tow truck, are down 45% on Spruce and Pine streets in the last year.

The Streets Department has documented little to no impact on average travel times for the length of Spruce and Pine. But what has happened is a reduction in the speed of the fastest cars. And chances are that is one of the key factors in reducing the number of people -- motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists -- that have ended up in the hospital.

So, the next time a motorist is questioning the wisdom of "taking away one of my lanes" you can answer, "Because I want to keep you out of the hospital."


Mickie Poe said...

Because I want to keep both of us out of the hospital! Drivers don't seem to realize that they have the upperhand in a crash between a car and a bicycle.

Caroline said...

We should take New York's "That's Why It's 30" campaign to the next level. "That's Why It's 20"! Now we have our own local data to prove it.

I think this is part of why it's important to promote cycling in different ways. It's not just about helping the environment or saving money, it's about improving safety and efficiency for everyone - motorists included.

Peter said...

Has traffic volume remained the same or did it fall 45%?

Anonymous said...

Here are links to the city's reports on the bike lanes. Offhand I'm not sure what effect the lanes had on traffic volume, but if it went down it was by much much less than 45%.