Paul Nussbaum reports that bike safety has improved as the number of cyclists on Philly’s streets has doubled since 2002. Makes sense – the more motorists expect to be sharing the road with cyclists, the more they get used to checking their mirrors for cyclists. A bike share service would further increase cycling and reduce traffic accidents even more:
As the number of bicyclists on Philadelphia streets has risen, cyclists and city officials have seen a counterintuitive result: The number of bike crashes and deaths has declined.
This “safety in numbers” phenomenon has been documented elsewhere, and safety experts believe it is because motorists become more alert to cyclists when there are more of them.
Since 2002, the number of cyclists on many Center City streets has more than doubled, according to tallies at key intersections, and the percentage of bike commuters has also doubled. In 2002, there were six bicyclists killed in accidents with motor vehicles; last year, there were two such deaths.
Traffic crashes involving bikes in Philadelphia have fallen from a high of 1,040 in 1998 to 553 in 2010.