Ride Together

Get the Facts about Bike Riding


Bike Safety Stats

  • One in every 20 cyclists is hurt every year.
  • Cars are to blame for 75% of car-on-bicycle collisions.
  • 39% of car-on-bicycle accidents occurred because cars were making turns and didn’t notice the biker.
  • Cyclists are more than 5 times more likely than motorists to die per mile of driving/riding.

Syracuse Testimonials of Bike Safety

Recent Syracuse Bike Accidents

  • June 21, 2008 – Auburn public high school teacher and coach Michele Duprey was killed while riding her bicycle due to a collision with a motorcycle.
  • May 2, 2010 – A Syracuse University student was hit by a police car at the intersection of Sumner and Euclid avenues. She suffered from minor injuries.
  • May 24, 2010 – A bicyclist was critically injured while riding in the Skunk City neighborhood after he was struck by a vehicle and left at the scene.
  • May 21, 2011 – Two teenagers riding on a bike suffered minor injuries after driving into the side of a car.
  • September 9, 2011 – A bicyclist riding in a bicycle lane on a downtown street was hit when a car turned in front of him. He complained of neck and arm pain, his injuries were not life-threatening.

These accident rates reflect the fear and discomfort felt by 60% of urban citizens who are interested but concerned about making bicycling their trasport of choice.

Why promote biking in Syracuse?

Personal Health
34% of Americans are obese, while only 10% of European countries such as the Netherlands are. Europeans walk more than twice and cycle five times more than the average American. This suggests an inverse relationship. Connection between high levels of active transportation and obesity rankings has been confirmed by US and European studies.

Bicycle road image

Environmental Health
  • 68% of air pollution is caused by on-road mobile vehicles including cars, trucks, and buses. Other sources are non-road mobile (ships, trains, planes) at 21%, and area sources (fireplaces, wood stoves) at 10%.
  • Transportation accounts for 27% of US Greenhouse Gas Emissions. Electricity is 33%, Industrial 20%.
  • Shifting from car dominance to bike engagement can reduce vehicular emissions of harmful chemicals like sulphur oxides and nitrogen oxides.
  • Syracuse is nearing the threshold levels for atmospheric concentrations of ozone (as designated by the US EPA).
  • Cycling produces no emissions of greenhouse gases.
The bicycle industry contributes about $133 billion per year to US economy from jobs, taxes, and local businesses.
  • Creates Jobs: In Baltimore, Maryland, pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure projects create nearly twice the number of jobs compared to road infrastructure projects (11 to 14 jobs per $1 million of spending vs. 7 jobs per $1 million). Half of these employment opportunities are created in industries outside of construction, specifically in areas of healthcare, retail, and food services.
  • Tourism: Bicycle tourists spend on average $17 more in communities than tourists traveling by other means and dedicate more time in the local culture. These tourist have minimal impact on city infrastructure such as congesting traffic and occupying parking spots.
  • Personal Spending: Purchasing and maintaining a bike versus a vehicle for a family of three or more will save them more than $6,000 per year.

San Francisco is already doing this.

The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition is having it’s own “Light Up the Night” campaign that provides free lights to bikers at night. Their work has contributed to the 58% increase in riding in the past four years. Can’t we do the same in Syracuse?

San Francisco Bicycle Coalition Video

What would the opposing view say about your policy?

The opposition would say that bikers are responsible for purchasing their own lights and should be penalized if they don’t ride with proper equipment at night. However, there is already a law against riding at night without proper lighting. The local police don’t enforce the law. This policy is not about punishing bikers, but to make the road safer so cars and bikers can ride together.

What is the likelihood your policy would be implemented?

There is a 40% chance that this policy would be implemented. Benefits of the policy include better road safety and encouraging local bike riding, which would fit the city’s current plan to increase the number of bike paths in neighborhoods. However, city funds are currently tight, and bike lights wouldn’t be top priority. Yet it is still a pretty cost-effective option to increase safety in the local area.

What is the effectiveness of your policy?

The policy will begin with a low effectiveness, since it will still take time for drivers to get used to looking out for riders on the road. However, as time passes, more bikers will use the lights to protect themselves from future accidents. This change would show a medium effectiveness of the policy.