Bike rental kiosks from Divvy and CitiBike have become must-have accessories for “real” cities in the US- and they’ve made incredible strides. Since these bike rental schemes first started popping up in 2007, more than 23 million Americans have taken them up on their offer. Perhaps more impressive, however, is a different, smaller number: 0. That’s the number of deaths attributed to a bike share system in the US according to reports from Yahoo! and Gizmodo.
While it’s important to note that there is no central reporting clearinghouse for bike share fatalities (and that, of course, “so far” should always be used), that impeccable safety record was confirmed by three independent transportation experts. Namelu, Susan Shaheen (the co-director of the University of California at Berkeley’s Transportation Sustainability Research Center), Russell Meddin (a founder of the Bike-sharing World Map), and Paul DeMaio (the founder of MetroBike, the nation’s oldest bike-share/bike rental consulting firm). “Even the accident rate in the bike share program is impressive, with about 10.5 crashes with or without injury per 1 million trips,” Meddin told Yahoo!.
That safety record is even more impressive when you realize the decks are stacked against the bike rental companies. That’s because most bike share customers are novice riders, refuse to wear (or don’t have access to) bike helmets, and because most rentals happen during heavy rush hour. Add to that the fact that many tourists, unfamiliar with the roads and traffic patterns of a major city, are also bike share clients, and … yeah. It’s impressive. As for whether or not those “negative” factors actually contribute to cyclist safety (with most “expert” cyclists barreling between cars, through stop signs, and grinding themselves into the wheels of right-turning trucks and buses), I’ll leave that to you, dear reader, to tell us about in the comments section, below. Enjoy!