Tuesday, April 22, 2014

New Report Finds Evidence That Greater Bicycling Means Greater Safety

The Alliance for Biking & Walking released a major benchmarking report covering data and research on walking and bicycling across the country. The goal is to identify trends and examine how they relate to public health, safety, and social and economic well-being.

There's a lot of juicy information in here, and you should do the "informed citizen" thing and check it out yourself. (We're not Upworthy, we're not going to turn their report into a listacle and chew it for you.) But we're pulling out one chart to share because we are especially heartened by its findings:

Cities With More Biking and Walking See Lower Fatality Rates
One of the report's findings is that bicycling and walking fatality rates are lower in cities where more people bike or walk to work. This supports the "safety in numbers" argument and the intuitive understanding that as bicyclists become more common on streets, drivers and bicyclists learn how to share that street safely.
Orange dots represent bicyclist fatality rates -- i.e., the number of people who have died while biking as a portion of the number of people who bike to work. The grey line indicates the percentage of the population who bikes to work, and the green line shows correlation between the two.

Now, infrastructure and education remain critical components of a safe bicycling environment. Given two streets with the same rates of bicyclist traffic, the street with a protected bicycle lane will have lower rates of bicycle crashes (and likely car crashes too). But this report should be encouraging to those of us in the Greater Philadelphia Region who care about safe walking and biking. Among all the reasons to bike to work, you are making all bicyclists safer by doing so.

Read more of the findings on the Alliance for Biking & Walking's website here.