When riding your bicycle through an urban area, it certainly feels safer to bike when other people are also biking. When a bunch of people are riding on the same block, they’re much more visible to cars than a solo cyclist. And when drivers become accustomed to their being cyclists on the road, they’re more aware of the potential presence of bikers. Ben Fried at Streetsblog points to evidence of the “safety in numbers” effect coming to New York City:
As the number of riders in NYC goes up, the aggregate quantity of accidents is going down. So the rate of accidents is plummeting. Obviously, bicycling as a mode of transportation isn’t going to work for all locations—its viability has a lot to do with terrain. But there are a lot of places in America, including Washington DC, where it can be a very useful addition to the mix. And I know that one reason some folks in Washington don’t want to take it up is that it feels unsafe. But what we’re seeing here is that incremental improvements in safety can, if they get more people out on the bike paths, lead to a positive feedback loop of more pedaling and more safety.