2006_9_ghostbike1.jpg

After a summer packed with bicycling fatalities, the city seems to be getting the message-- after much prompting by Transportation Alternatives and other biking advocacy groups, a bunch of city agencies got together and released the "Bicyclist injury and fatality report", which apparently is the largest study of its kind ever produced in these United States.

The entire report will be up online in a couple of hours-- but we've gone through the various press releases and pulled out the interesting parts:

1. The report looked at "the deaths of 225 bicyclists during the past decade and the serious injuries of 3,462 bicyclists between 1996 and 2003."

2. "bicyclist injuries declined by 46% between 1996 and 2003, death rates in the past decade remained steady at 2.8 deaths per million, per year."

3. "Bicycle death rates in New York City are similar to national rates. Two times as many New York City adults (6% vs. 3%) bicycle or walk to work compared to the national average."

4. The best way to avoid death or serious injury is to ride in a bike lane, while wearing a helmet: "Nearly all bicyclists who died (97%) were not wearing a helmet," and "Only one fatal crash with a motor vehicle occurred when a bicyclist was in a marked bike lane."

5. Most bicyclists are killed by cars or trucks (92%), with trucks doing nearly twice as much killing (compared to their frequency on the roads). 94% of deaths involved human error, and 89% were near intersections, so that's where you need to be most careful.

6. Bad news for dudes: 91% of fatalities were men.

7. Avoid midtown at all costs: that's where the densest clusters of death and injury seem to lurk.

The report concludes that more paths are needed, so 200 miles of new lanes are going to be built between now and 2009, along with 40 miles of greenways in the city parks. [Related: Streetsblog has some coverage of the press conference.]

Ghost bike from SuperEvilBrian's photostream on Flickr.