i was especially surprised at how few deaths cabs were involved in, as well.Originally Posted by http://www.nytimes.com/2006/09/13/nyregion/13bikes.html?pagewanted=printCity Hall Promises Major Increase in Bike Lanes on Streets
By WILLIAM NEUMAN
The Bloomberg administration plans to greatly increase the number of bicycle lanes after a city study showed that 225 cyclists died in accidents on city streets over the last 10 years, officials said yesterday.
While some motorists may grumble that bike lanes take up road space and add to congestion, the study suggests that the lanes actually work. Most of the bike deaths involved crashes with cars, trucks or buses, but only one of those involved a cyclist who was in a marked bike lane.
The city’s transportation commissioner, Iris Weinshall, said 200 additional miles of bike lanes were planned for the five boroughs over the next three years. The city now has about 220 miles of roadway designated for bikes, including paths set off from vehicle traffic by barriers, lanes painted on the street and routes indicated mainly by street signs.
“The data demonstrates cyclists need more safe places to ride,” Ms. Weinshall said.
The highest toll in the last 10 years was 40 in 1999 and the lowest 13 in 2001. Last year 24 cyclists were killed, according to the study, which compiled data from 1996 through 2005 and was conducted by several city agencies.
Despite the city’s frenetic pace and heavy traffic, the study found that riding a bicycle in New York City did not appear to be significantly more deadly than in the country as a whole.
Based on the city’s population, there were 2.8 bicycle deaths a year per million residents during the 10 years, slightly more than the 2.7-per-million rate nationwide.
“Simply encouraging more people to ride bikes is going to improve the safety of cyclists,” said Noah Budnick, a deputy director of Transportation Alternatives, a cycling advocacy group. He called the study and the bike lane expansion “unprecedented.”
“The more people bike, the more drivers become accustomed to looking for cyclists and to driving safely around them,” he said.
Nonetheless, there was some disagreement over how extensive the city’s network of bike lanes really is — and will be after the expansion — because of how the city calculates the mileage. If both sides of a one-mile strip of a two-way street have bike lanes, for example, the city counts it as two miles of bike lanes. Mr. Budnick said the city’s claim of 220 miles might be more properly counted as less than half that. The same could be expected to apply, he said, to much of the proposed new mileage.
The study revealed some intriguing trends. Men and boys accounted for 91 percent of the toll, or 199 fatalities. That was similar to data for the country as a whole, where male cyclists make up 89 percent of fatalities.
Thomas R. Frieden, the health commissioner, said the predominance of men and boys among the fatalities might reflect “a little bit more risk-taking behavior from males.”
Crashes with moving vehicles accounted for 207 of the deaths in the study. Among those, nearly a third involved trucks and buses, although they are only about 15 percent of the vehicles on city streets.
The trend was the opposite for taxis. Cyclists accustomed to cursing at cabs as the drivers dart through Midtown traffic might be surprised to learn that taxis accounted for only two of the vehicle-bike deaths, or 1 percent, although cabs make up 2 percent of registered vehicles in the city.
The study also reinforced the importance of wearing a bike helmet. It found that 74 percent of fatal accidents involved head injuries and that, in cases in which records on helmet use were kept, 97 percent of the riders who died were not wearing one.
The study found that cyclists’ ignoring traffic controls like lights and stop signs was one of the most common factors contributing to fatal accidents. Drivers not paying attention was another common factor.
The city plans to start an advertising campaign next spring to remind drivers and bike riders about safety.
i guess simple paint stripes on the roadway actually are effective after all.