Sunday, January 22, 2012

Bicycle Use and Safety In Paris, Boston, and Amsterdam

by J. Scott Osberg and Sarah C. Stiles

This article examines bicycle use and safety behavior in Paris, Boston, and Amsterdam. Population-adjusted bicycle and passenger car death rates in France, the United States, and The Netherlands provide context for understanding bicycle use and safety behavior. Observation data on helmet use and use of lights at night are also presented. Boston has the fewest bicycles per hour at 55, Paris is next at 74, compared to 242 cyclists per hour in Amsterdam. Thirty-two percent of Boston cyclists wore helmets versus only 2.4% of Paris cyclists and only 0.1% of Amsterdam cyclists. In contrast, Paris cyclists were far more likely to use lights at night (45.2%), than Boston cyclists (15.6%) or Amsterdam cyclists (7.6%). With bicycle and car deaths as the numerators, and the French, U.S., and Dutch populations as the denominators, the Netherlands appears to have a dramatically lower death rate for people in passenger cars and for the combined group of cyclists and passenger car occupants. Transportation safety policies in the Netherlands appear to be working better than policies in the U.S. or France. Politicians, transportation planners, and safety experts can learn a lot from the Dutch about how to promote cycling and build a safe bicyclefriendly environment.

Amsterdam cyclists:

more about bicycle planning:

The Münster Application for the European Green Capital Award

Bicycle policies of the European principals: continuous and integral

Sights and details from the 2011 NJ Bike and Walk Summit

On Amsterdam, bikes and the Copenhagen Wheel thingy

Metroradruhr: Germany's Ruhr Valley Inter-City Bike Sharing


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