Bicyclists killed in NYC in 2009 = 12
Pedestrians killed in NYC in 2009 = 155
There were 50% fewer bicycle deaths in NYC as compared to 2008, despite ridership increasing 26% since 2008.
There’s been some misinformation on the innernets regarding bicycles in NYC. I just wanted to clarify things.
Doesn’t mean you shouldn’t wear a helmet. Also, saying that riding bicycles is safer than walking given the stats above suggests that you’re #badatmath. You need to express fatalities — and injuries, really — as a percentage of walked or rode hours before you can make a claim like that… and my guess is that you’d be unable to support such a claim in the face of such an analysis.
Mike is right. You’d have to be an idiot to suggest that riding bicycles is the safest mode of personal transportation in NYC based on these stats.
If you want a thorough explanation of why the numbers cited here are completely worthless and the conclusion drawn from them utterly ridiculous (this goes for basically all statistics cited in mainstream media reports), read the book The Tiger That Isn’t: Seeing Through a World of Numbers by Michael Blastland and Andrew Dilnot (or don’t: it’s actually pretty boring and mostly common sense.) As mikehudack points out, just because the number of riders increased doesn’t mean that the number of hours each cyclist spent on a bike did so as well. Perhaps more importantly, stating that 10x more pedestrians were killed in NYC than cyclists in no way indicates that cycling is less dangerous than walking if you consider the fact that around 8 million people live in New York, virtually all of whom will walk across a street at some point during the day (and that’s not including commuters, tourists, etc.) The same Transportation Dep’t study that claimed bicycle ridership increased by 26% estimated that there were about 236,000 cyclists in NYC — a fraction of the number of pedestrians. (also, the accuracy of that number has been questioned: http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/04/27/study-questions-number-of-cyclists-in-new-york/)
Regardless of safety, it’s usually the fastest way to get around.