Whether or not New York City's forthcoming bike sharing initiative will be a welcomed success or a network of mini-madrassas remains to be seen, but could it save your life some day? A study (an actual study, not an internet poll) conducted by our old friends at the British Medical Journal of Barcelona's bike-sharing program found that it contributed to 12 fewer deaths a year, not to mention a reduction of 9,000 tons of carbon dioxide pollution.
Although annual cycling fatalities increased by an estimated 0.03 deaths, and breathing in air pollution on the road caused a projected 0.13 deaths per year, the lives saved from the physical health benefits greatly outweighed the increased risks. By 2009, two years after Barcelona implemented their bicycle-sharing program, 11% of the city, or 180,000 were participating in it. At press time, it was still unclear if any of the benefits of bike-sharing decreased when a dangerous tote bag was thrown into the mix.