News Analysis

More Cyclists + Better Design = Safer Roadways

New data from Portland, Oregon, shows that cycling may improve traffic safety overall, not just for cyclists, and it suggests that drivers exercise more caution with more cyclists on the road. A New York City trend reinforces this finding, pointing to a correlation between increased bicycle use and a decline in bicycle accidents. Data from around the world also demonstrates that cycling is safest in countries where bicycles are most prevalent, like Germany and Denmark. These countries also take care to design their roadways with cyclists in mind, something the SmartCode Bicycle Module, a new production of New York’s Street Plans Collaborative, aims to accomplish in the U.S.

Portland offers 300 miles (480 km) of trails, lanes, and bicycle-friendly streets to encourage bicycle use. As this network has developed, the city’s overall crash mortality rate has dropped significantly, especially when compared with national figures. According to an analysis in

Published January 27, 2011