With 23 million bike rides, you’d expect there to be a few accidents. But while their may have been a few fender benders, when it comes to bike share accidents in the United States, there has been a shocking number of casualties: zero.
Tulsa, Oklahoma was the first U.S. city to get a bike share program back in 2007, the exact same year that Paris’ famous program was initiated. Since then, bike share programs have extended to 36 different U.S. cities. While critics might say that the programs pose safety issues — new riders, no helmet requirements, etc. — the data shows that there have in fact been no fatalities on bike share bicycles.
If you’ve ever pedaled one, you’re likely to have the same reaction as Thomas Brereton, an accountant from suburban Westchester County who rides a Citi Bike in New York City. “It’s like pedaling a tank,” Brereton told Yahoo News.
And while you may hum and haw over the fact that the bike share bicycle is no sleek steed, that’s exactly what’s keeping you safe.
“The bikes are heavy, with a very low center of gravity, wide tires, drum brakes that keep the braking system dry even in inclement weather, and the bikes are geared so it is difficult to gain considerable speed,” Susan Shaheen, co-director of the University of California at Berkeley’s Transportation Sustainability Research Center told Yahoo News.
That helps even when it comes to small accidents. For every million bike share rides, there are about 10.5 accidents, with or without injury.
Those are promising statistics. ”I believe that to be a phenomenal safety record and, coupled with the no U.S.A. fatalities, bike share has a better record than bicycling,” Russell Meddin, founder of the Bike-sharing World Map told Yahoo News.
And while there have been bike fatalities outside of bike share, studies show that the more people ride, the safer things get. Yet another argument for getting people on two wheels.
So, don’t scoff the heavy bike share bicycle. Embrace it. And get your friends to do it too. We could all use a little more time pedaling.
Photo Credit: Shinya Suzuki