NYC's Citi Bike Program Saw No Deaths In Its First Year, As In Zero
New York City is home to the Yankees, the Statue of Liberty, and... some of the worst drivers in the world. The sheer number of people on the streets, mixed with road rage, is a recipe for aggressive driving and accidents. So Citi Bike must be doing something right: Not one Citi Bike user has been killed in its first year of NYC business. Maybe there really is something about that bright blue color.
NYC's Citi Bike is the largest bike-share program in the country, with thousands of bikes at hundreds of stations positioned throughout Manhattan and Brooklyn. The bikes are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. In a thank-you letter on its site, the Citigroup-sponsored company expressed its gratitude to its users and revealed a healthy, growing program.
Citi Bike currently has around 100,000 members and in its first year alone, these members took over 8.75 million bike rides and traveled over 14.7 million miles. That is a lot of bike rides in one year, which helps to further underscore just how minimal the risk has been.
Although, that's not to say there hasn't been any risk — Citi Bike users have indeed been injured and accidents have happened. (Let's not forget that a large portion of users are tourists.)
"Out of 8.75 million trips, we’ve had about 100 crash reports, of which about 25 warranted a trip to the ER," Citi Bike spokeswoman Dani Simon told Slate. "To my knowledge there have been zero fatalities to date. I am keeping up my daily prayers that this trend continues.
While Citi Bike isn't foolproof, these stats are meager compared to what people were expecting before its launch. When Citi Bike appeared on NYC streets last May, the program was met with very mixed reception. Several pundits outright predicted cyclist deaths by the hordes, with one even calling the Bloomberg administration (who is responsible for the bike share program) "totalitarian."
Dorothy Rabinowitz: "The Bike Lobby Is an All-Powerful Enterprise"
Wall Street Journal editorial board member Dorothy Rabinowitz stated in an opinion video titled "Death by Bicycle":
Before this every citizen knew — who's in any way sentient — that the most important danger in the city is not the yellow cabs, it is the bicyclists who veer in and out of the sidewalks, and empowered by the city administration with the idea that they are privileged because they are helping [with the environment].
Rutgers University Professor John Pucher
About 20 people die from cycling accidents in NYC each year, but before Citi Bike launched, Rutgers professor John Rucher predicted that that number could triple. Five months after Citi Bike's launch and no fatalities were reported, Rucher stated that he regretted his prediction.
Jon Stewart: "A Lot of People Are Going to Die"
Even Jon Stewart joined in the debate, adding more weight to the skeptics' corner. "First of all, the idea of New Yorkers sharing anything, other than sexually transmitted diseases, is wackdoo," Stewart quips in a segment titled "Full Pedal Racket."
And when commenting on the program's "helmets optional" policy, Stewart comes up with a business venture: Jon Stewart's Street Brain Material Removal Service. Oh dear.