On a Path to Safer Cycling
Bicyclists in New York City are riding safer, according to a new study by Hunter College professors Peter Tuckel and William Milczarski. In their report, Bike Lanes + Bike Share Program = Bike Safety, they found that an increasing number of cyclists—women more than men—are wearing helmets and obeying traffic laws. They also found that the number of women cyclists in New York City has doubled since 2009.
Tuckel teaches a Research Methods course in the Department of Sociology, and Milczarski teaches Data Analysis in the Department of Urban Affairs and Planning.
The current report is a follow-up to a 2009 study by both professors, which attracted attention because of the lack of safety it found was being exercised by cyclists on the road.
In the half decade between the two studies, the authors write, there have been several developments that could account for the changes in ridership and rider behavior. First, there has been a steady increase in the number of bike lanes around the city. Second, more laws enforcing bicycle safety have been enacted, including one mandating helmets for commercial riders.
Another factor, say Tuckel and Milczarski, is the introduction of the Citi bike-share program. Their works shows that so-called “citi-bikers” are more likely to follow the rules of the road than others. “Maybe the rest are just getting the hint,” added Milczarski.
Tuckel and Milczarski say they will continue tracking this data. “Riding is becoming a bigger part of living in New York City,” said Milczarski, “we will see if over time things get better or slip backward.”