The National Association of City Transportation Officials recently released a report, Equitable Bike Share Means Building Better Places for People to Ride which shows that the number of people biking in the United States is going up yet the risk of death or injury to each individual bike rider is declining. The report attributes the increase in safety to all the bike lanes cities and towns are building. Bottom line, riding a bike is getting safer as cities build better bike lane networks and more people ride when cities build protected bike lanes. The report said that adding protected bike lanes significantly increases bike ridership by anywhere from 21% to 171%.
The report also noted that bike share programs increase the visibility of cyclists, making riding safer for everyone, but mandatory bike helmet laws reduce ridership but don’t actually increase safety. (Note to anyone I know personally — wear the damn helmet anyway.)
Finally, the report said that 60% of the total population are “interested but concerned” about biking. Of those, 80% would be willing to ride on streets with a separated or protected bike lanes.