A recent study has revealed that approximately 1,000 pedestrians are injured by bicycles per year in New York State, something like two thirds of them in New York City. The Wall Street Journal and the New York Times were quick to pick up and run with the story.
1,000 pedestrians were injured by cyclists enough to require a visit to a hospital for treatment, but on the other hand less than one pedestrian a year was killed by a bicycle (3 in 5 years). It should be noted though that in the New York State, in the same one year period 15,321 pedestrians were injured by motor vehicles, and more than 300 died from their injuries. So get hit by a car or truck and you have a 1 in 51 chance of dying, get hit by a bicycle and the chance of a fatality is less than 1 in 1,000.
In all these statistics the key issue that isn’t clear is who is at fault in these accidents.
- Many pedestrians are multi-tasking by listening to music, texting, talking on a mobile phone; in Tonbridge I see lots of pedestrians walking in the cycle part of a dual use path.
- Cyclists shouldn’t cycle on paths and yet too often I see a cyclist zooming along in the space reserved for pedestrians.
They key thing is for each of us to ensure that we keep ourselves and others safe by taking responsibility for our own actions.