It helps to have the data. In our statistics-driven culture, there’s no substitute for having the numbers to quantify the scope of a problem.
One recent case in point is New York bike and pedestrian accidents. Researchers from Hunter College released a study of bike-on-pedestrian accidents from 2007 to 2010. The data indicate a statewide drop in pedestrian injuries in crashes caused by cyclists.
The Hunter study did not contain specific numbers for New York City and its boroughs. But it is known that over half of the accidents occur in New York City.
It’s not as if bike-on-ped accidents have gone away. There are still over 900 pedestrians a year in New York State who require medical attention after getting hit by cyclists. The number is going down, however, even as the number of bike lanes goes up, especially in New York City.
Naturally, advocates for transit are quick to suggest that increased bike commuting into Manhattan and elsewhere in New York City could make everyone safer. The Hunter College research provides a useful starting point for moving the transit planning conversation forward.
Another part of that conversation is, of course, the need to do more to prevent motor vehicle accidents. Many previous studies have found that bike and pedestrian injuries are closely related to the speed of motor vehicles on the surrounding streets.
In other words, speed skills. It also injures. The more that basic fact is recognized, the more injuries and deaths can be prevented.
Source: “What’s Causing the Drop in Bike-on-Ped Injuries?” Streetsblog, 9-20-11