Monday, June 16, 2014

Bike share, more bikes, fewer injuries

Remember all those people saying Citibikes were bad because bicyclists would be killed right and left? Now only doesn't that happen, but bike injuries in cities with bike share have gone down. This isn't surprising since we know more bikes equal more safety for bicyclists. But it's still nice to know. And I hate to jinx anything, but has a single person on a Citibike been killed? What is it about talking about bikes and helmets that makes people, including Washington Post headline editors, get so looney? Of course the initial story in the Washington Post reported the opposite, which was completely wrong.

 

That headline was half-ass corrected (in their words, "updated") to read: "Proportion of head injuries rises in cities with bike share programs" God forbid the headline would actually report that injuries (including head injuries) are down.

And of course one would expect the proportion of head injuries to go up when more bicyclists do not wear helmets. (I'm just guessing, but I'm pretty sure that bike share riders are less likely to wear helmets.)

But total head injuries are down! In other words, an effective way to reduce head injuries is not to get bicyclists to wear helmets, but to get more people to bike, helmeted or otherwise.