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"For reasons unknown, DC's has a higher crash and injury rate than the San Francisco Bay Area does (Nice Ride doesn't record this data)."

Because in SF, it's mostly the cab drivers who drive like they are insane, whereas here, that's just standard driving procedure? Having ridden both places, that's my impression. YMMV.

I do still feel like there might be a safety in numbers effect, even if it hasn't been measured (or hasn't happened) yet.

Thank you for the writeup, but want to check the per-mile and per-trip numbers. You use 10 million as your denominator, but the tables say 100 million.

Are the vehicle stats also per 100 million, or are they really per 10 million, in which case bikeshare is an order of magnitude safer? Thanks for clarifying!

xmal, sorry that was my mistake. All numbers are in terms of 100 million. I 'll correct it.

DE, that's one possible explanation. It would be easy to test by determining the crash rate for pedestrians and comparing it in both cities we could determine if "different drivers" was the cause.

Another theory of mine is that the Bay Area system is smaller and thus found only in the most bike-friendly parts of town, while CaBi expands out into the suburbs.

One possible explanation for the lack of a safety-in-numbers effect could be cyclist experience. It's likely that as the number of cyclists increases - especially if it happens rapidly - that the average experience goes down. Given a group of cyclists with 10 years of bike commuting experience and another with 2, I'd expect the former to be in fewer crashes. So if average experience is going down, but crashes are remaining level, then cycling is actually becoming safer, because less experience is needed to get the same effect.

Anyway, there are lots of variables and teasing it all out will take years. But I predicted that bikeshareing would created a wealth of new data for researchers and this study shows how that data can help us understand all of these factors better.

That's a good idea. Got me looking and I haven't found what I'm looking for yet. But interestingly, DC's pedestrian *fatality* rate was actually lower than California's as a whole for 2013 (1.39 vs. 1.83 per 100k poulation). Maryland's was 1.82; Virginia's was 0.91.


In 2013, DC had 9 pedestrian fatalities; according to the SF police department, SF had 21. DC has about a 20% smaller population than SF.

Hope to find pedestrian crash rates if work time allows.

Interesting stats. The not-safer-than-car trips assertion may be true, though one needs to note that a "trip" in each has wildly different characteristics. Pretty much any baseline you would use for that statistic would have other issues, though.

Mostly finding data for deaths. In 2012, SF had a ped death rate of 1.70 per 100k population; DC had a rate of 1.11.


NHTSA does have this little gem for 2013:

"The individual State percentages of pedestrian fatalities by total
traffic fatalities ranged from a low of 0.7 percent (North Dakota)
to a high of 45.0 percent (District of Columbia), compared to the
national average of 14.5 percent."

Could be skewed since DC is the only "state" that is entirely a city.

Also, the authors chose to compare only bike-vehicle crashes for cyclists to vehicle crashes for motorists. But I'm not sure excluding crashes that don't involved a motor vehicle makes sense. Certainly the motorist crash data includes single-car crashes. I'd really compare CaBi's 1412 crashes per 100M trips to 803 per 100M trips for motorists. Which makes it much less safe - on a per trip basis (with all the issues that involves).

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