New York City’s new bicycle sharing program has been popular. Citi Bike began May 29 with 6,000 bicycles and 330 docking stations in the city. Over Memorial Day weekend, nearly 10,000 people registered to use the distinctive blue bikes. According to an article in the New York Daily News, Citi Bike had grown to nearly 247,000 users by mid-to-late August, and riders had taken about 2.4 million trips.
The bike sharing program has been closely watched both by observers who believe the program will lead to an increase in bike accidents as well as advocates who say that increasing the city’s bicycle presence will actually make the streets safer. So far, according to the New York City Department of Transportation, the bike program has not led to a rash of bicycle accidents.
Data released to the newspaper shows that since the program started there had been eight accidents involving Citi Bike riders. An NYCDOT spokeswoman told the newspaper that there had been 604 accidents involving bicycles in July, slightly up from 559 in 2012, including car-bike accidents. During the month of July, the NYPD reported 470 injuries and no deaths. In July 2012, it reported 446 people injured and three deaths.
A bike advocate told the newspaper that bike safety is improving because Citi Bikes have made drivers more aware of bicycles in general. He also says the speed of bikes has slowed because Citi Bikes are not designed to travel quickly.
Only eight Citi Bike accidents over millions of miles is positive news for the city. Even relatively minor bike accidents can cause serious injuries. That’s because bike riders have less protection than motor vehicles, and they are more likely to be seriously injured in accidents as a result.
Source: New York Daily News, “Pedal power encounters some bumps in the road in New York City,” Sept. 16, 2013