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Investigation into bike-share programs reveals surprising finds

News of the increase in commuter bicycle use is often coupled with concerning statistics regarding accident and injury rates throughout cities like Los Angeles, California. Interestingly, however, new research shows that one specific demographic of cyclists may actually be subject to lower bicycle accident rates in cities across the country.

In one major U. S. city alone, 12 bicycle riders died last year. It is partially for that reason that the inception of bike share programs across the country has been met with criticism by some concerned citizens and safety experts. The research findings of three separate alternative transportation experts suggest, however, that bike share programs are not actually putting riders at higher risk. The bike share program in San Francisco, as well as programs in 35 other cities, has apparently yet to result in one fatality accident.

Some attribute the programs’ safety rates to the bikes themselves. The bicycles are equipped with weather-resistant brake systems, and feature wide tires and a low center of gravity. Despite the fact that bike-share riders often navigate through busy urban environments, it’s estimated that there are only a little over 10 accidents for every 1 million trips. Around 23 million bike share rides have taken place in participating cities in the past seven years.

There is still room for improvement, though. One study also found that bicycle-related head injuries are more prevalent in cities where bike share program exist. Any news about improvements to bicycle safety is welcomed. Too many cyclists are subject to unsafe road conditions and dangerous acts of negligence. That is why learning about one’s rights as an accident victim can be helpful to beginning the personal injury claims process.

Source: Reuters, “After 23 million rides, no deaths in U.S. bike share programs,” Barbara Goldberg, August 12, 2014

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