Saturday, November 22, 2008

NYC Sudy Finds That, "Cyclists Disobey Traffic Laws"


According to the study;

# Nearly 57 percent of the cyclists observed failed to stop red lights.
# About 13 percent of cyclists (and a quarter of cyclists under the age of 14) were observed riding against traffic.
# Almost 13 percent of cyclists (and more than half of cyclists under the age of 14) were observed riding on sidewalks.
# Nearly 14 percent of cyclists did not use a designated bike lane when one was available.
# Only 36 percent of cyclists wore helmets. About half of female riders wore helmets, compared with just about one-third of the males. Nearly half of the children under the age of 14, and nearly three-quarters of commercial cyclists — like messengers and delivery workers — did not wear a helmet, even though the law requires that both groups use helmets.

The article quotes the author of the study saying the findings “troubling” and “disturbing.” Going to say that, "greater adherence to these traffic laws would help to reduce reports of “conflicts between cyclists and motorists,” and "better training of both drivers and cyclists and the incorporation of bike-safety lessons in school curriculums."

Better education might alleviate the some of symptoms, but statement from Wiley Norvell identified that problem is motorized vehicle-centric planning and design. A study from London tells us that, "Women cyclists are far more likely to be killed by a lorry because, unlike men, they tend to obey red lights and wait at junctions in the driver’s blind spot, according to a study."

Unlike the author of the study, I don't find the results surprising at all. Traffic laws and transportation planning have mostly been develop without consideration for cyclists. It will be a hard time trying to get a road users to follow rules that not only don't make sense, but also put them in danger.

(oh, and I wonder if New York Times purposely chose to use a photo with a truck parked in bike lane or if they didn't even notice the infraction.)

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