Bike-Sharing: Safer Than Riding Your Own Bike

Monday, June 27 by sandy

DC-BikeshareIt seems counterintuitive. You’d think that riding your own bike would be safer than riding a shared bike. But that’s not the case. In Paris, London, and Washington, D.C., fewer people are injured when they use the new bike-sharing systems.

In London, no one was seriously injured or killed on the first 4.5 million trips on what the locals call Boris Bikes (Barclays Cycle Hire system), while about 12 people are injured for every 4.5 million trips on personal bikes.

And in D.C., the same thing happens: “While only seven bike-sharing riders were injured in 330,000 trips, on average, 13 people riding personal bikes are injured over the same number of trips. And bike-sharing riders suffered no serious injuries, while riders using their own bikes suffered injuries that were sometimes serious or even fatal.”

So why does this happen? Professor Norman Garrick of the University of Connecticut speculates that it could be shorter trips on shared bikes. Professor Ian Walker of the University of Bath (England) suggests bike-sharers might be less experienced and “stick to safer cycling behavior,” or they “could be more dedicated cyclists with an above-average skill level.” Garrick adds that the shared bikes themselves might be a factor, since they’re more visible (often bright red or yellow) and slower.

Read more on StreetBlog.org.

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Give Pedestrians a Head Start

Sunday, December 5 by sandy

New York City and Washington, D.C. have begun changing the timing of traffic lights to increase pedestrian safety. The Leading Pedestrian Interval (LPI), or Pedestrian Head Start, gives pedestrians a few?seconds to begin crossing the street before drivers have the green light.

This has been demonstrated to work well in large cities, but we believe it could also be useful in West Windsor, particularly at the Route 571/Wallace Road/Cranbury Road intersection (this intersection is currently under construction) and possibly at the Alexander Road/Vaughn Drive intersection (see our previous recommendations for this intersection after a 2008 West Windsor Walk).

See how they work.

LPI ? Leading Pedestrian Interval from Streetfilms on Vimeo.

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Bike-Share Programs Take Off

Monday, November 8 by silvia

Velib, ParisThe V?lib system in Paris and now London’s bike-share program get lots of attention, but all sorts of European cities have similar programs. The German newsweekly Der Spiegel says the number has hit 100.

Does it get more people on bikes and reduce congestion? Nearly half of V?lib users say they drive less due to getting on a V?lib more. It’s easy for tourists to use too, with bikes and racks seemingly everywhere you look. There aren’t many such systems in the U.S., although Washington D.C. recently expanded and relaunched its program.

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