Public Bike Sharing Study Finds lower accident and injury rates as compared to avid cyclists.
Over the last decade, public bike share programs have become reality in 94 American cities, including Los Angeles. “Bike share” refers to a program where bicycles can be rented by the public for use in and around busy, urban or downtown areas. Bike share bicycles are often operated by inexperienced cyclists without helmets.
In spite of this fact, bike share riders were involved in fewer crashes than regular riders and had lower overall injury rates according to a report by the Mineta Transportation Institute.
The Mineta report indicates that in Washington, DC, the bike share injury rate is 35% lower than that of regular/avid bicycle riders.
The bicycle accident lawyers of Nadrich & Cohen, LLP, weigh in on what may explain the lower injury rate for public bike share riders.
1) Bike share bicycles are large and heavy with thick tires, require an upright-seated position and offer a limited gear ratio which prevents the bikes from going fast. Because of their design, these bikes discourage faster, aggressive riding and the thick tires provide greater control for navigating potholes and asphalt cracks.
2) Bike share locations are almost always in downtown, urban areas. Higher numbers of pedestrians and other bicyclists predominate downtown areas, therefore, these riders share the road with fewer cars. Posted speed limits tend to also be much lower in downtown areas, which can result in less injury to cyclists due to lower speeds.
3) Believe it or not, the fact that many bike share riders are less experienced is a good thing because they often ride more slowly and cautiously due to their inexperience. They are going to be more cautious, ride more defensively and be more risk-averse as compared to regular cyclists. Bike share riders usually are not familiar with the bicycle routes and traffic patterns which make them even more cautious.
As bicycle accident lawyers we encourage bike sharing in urban areas and support mandatory helmet use for all cyclists. Attorney Jeffrey Nadrich is an avid cyclist and is a member of several California cycling clubs and organizations.