Fact: Places With High Numbers of Cyclists Are Safer for Pedestrians

[B' Spokes: Or read this why we support bicycling with Maryland's high pedestrian fatality rate. It will help!]

by Ben Fried

The United States has fallen far behind countries with high cycling rates, like the Netherlands, when it comes to overall street safety and preventing pedestrian deaths. Graphic: Streetsblog; Data: PPS


Well, how about Tokyo? A frenetic global metropolis with more than 13 million residents. With all those people rushing to get where they need to go, Tokyo still boasts a pedestrian fatality rate nearly half that of New York [which is lower then Baltimore]. And check this out: In Tokyo, 16 percent of all trips include cycling. That’s an order of magnitude higher than the current cycling rate in NYC.


The top cycling countries have also attracted international attention for achieving dramatic reductions in pedestrian fatalities. Sweden, with its Vision Zero initiative, cut pedestrian deaths in half in five years. Germany and the Netherlands are also leaving the United States behind when it comes to street safety. Between 1975 and 2001, American pedestrian deaths declined 27 percent while Dutch pedestrian deaths fell 73 percent and German pedestrian deaths fell 82 percent, according to a 2003 paper in the American Journal of Public Health by Rutgers professor John Pucher [PDF].


More car-free zones, pedestrian refuges, clearly marked crosswalks, and extensive, high-quality bike networks. Hmmm… Seen any changes like that around NYC recently? Imagine how much more progress we could make if our daily papers actually cared about street safety.


Comments (0)

Baltimore Spokes