With 320 bike share stations, New Yorkers and tourists are taking a step off the curb with the new Bike Share program. Riders can access most parts of New York with this self-service, low cost program designed to provide access, exercise and an additional transportation option. But is it safe?
Although the first week of the Bike Share program resulted in a cyclist hit by a sports utility vehicle (SUV) on Macdougal Street, widespread injury has not been reported. While injury and accident statistics reflecting the increased number of bicyclists interacting with motorists is not yet available, the popularity of the program is apparent.
A June New York Times article quotes David Vlahov, the dean of nursing with the University of California as stating [a] number of studies have looked at increased biking, and the result is that the more people bike in a community, the less likely they are to collide with motorists.
The danger for any bicyclist, or pedestrian, is lack of protection in the event of collision with a motor vehicle. Along with safety tips offered by Citi Bike, consider the following to keep yourself, and loved ones safe when biking for fun or for transportation:
- Wear a helmet
- Do your best to be seen by wearing bright clothes and reflective gear if traveling at dusk or dawn
- Assume motorists do not see you and wait, even if you have the right of way, if you feel approaching traffic will not stop
- Be aware of distracted drivers and be sure not to be distracted by electronic devices yourself
- Do not ride impaired, and do not cycle with those who do
Biking is great exercise and a good way to see the city, but it can be dangerous. Stay alert, wear a helmet and if involved in an accident, get good legal counsel.