Skip to Content
Streetsblog Los Angeles home
Streetsblog Los Angeles home
Log In
Streetsblog.net

More Cyclists = Safer Cycling in Minneapolis

9:36 AM PST on February 10, 2011

false

Studies have long linked cycling safety to the number of cyclists on the street -- the old safety-in-numbers maxim in action.

The latest evidence validating this phenomenon comes from chilly Minneapolis. In the mid-1990s, collisions involving cyclists peaked at 334, according to city data reported by the League of American Bicyclists. Since then, bike commuting has skyrocketed 174 percent. Meanwhile, the number of collisions has declined 20 percent to 269.

If that's not enough to convince skeptics, LAB has a few more data points:

“People are so used to seeing bicyclists — love them or hate — and they don’t want to hit them,” Shaun Murphy, coordinator of the city’s non-motorized transportation program, told the Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune. He also told the Tribune that the “hot spots” for bike-motorist accidents are not located around the University of Minnesota, where bicycling is common, because drivers there are so used to watching for bikes.

The data from Minneapolis are just the latest example of this counter-intuitive relationship between more bicycling and fewer crashes that has become known as the “safety in numbers” concept after the famous 2003 study from Peter Jacobsen. New York City has shown a similar trend (source: Transportation Alternatives). Also see this follow up work on Safety in Numbers in Australia.

The link between cycling volume and lower collision rates is the perfect response to the argument that the safety of cyclists shouldn't be a priority because their numbers are few. Minneapolis has done as much or more than any Midwestern city to make cyclists comfortable and safe. Its efforts are paying off, with more people choosing a healthier way to get around, despite a less-than-ideal cycling climate.

Elsewhere on the Network today: The City Fix reports on a truly green laundry in Philadelphia that does its deliveries by bicycle. Walkable Dallas-Fort Worth illustrates how cars can drain vitality from a city, while pedestrians and cyclists enliven it. And Market Urbanism warns that rezoning in Jamaica, Queens should not to fall into the too-common trap of raising density without lifting minimum parking requirements.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog Los Angeles

SGV Connect 121: El Monte and South El Monte, with ActiveSGV and Libros Monte

Podcast features ActiveSGV's David Diaz on various multimodal/complete streets projects - and Pedro Gonzales on Libros Monte and Mt. SAC's El Centro: Latinx Student Program

February 20, 2024

This Week In Livable Streets

CicLAvia, Metro lower 710 Freeway widening plan, C Line construction, Alternative Traffic Enforcement at Transportation Committee, street racing, and more

February 20, 2024

Two Thoughts on Measure HLA and How Hard Some City Leaders Are Fighting Against Safer Streets

Ballooning HLA cost estimates are hard to take seriously - for example, the CAO forecasts that unprotected bike lanes will cost $1.76 million dollars per mile

February 17, 2024
See all posts