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Biking is Found to be Safer in Paris than in Suburban an...

Biking is Found to be Safer in Paris than in Suburban and Rural France

At the end of last June, the Ministry of the Interior published data on corporal accidents related to road traffic in France, and from this data, it generated a very interesting chart, referencing in great detail the total of 62,000 accidents listed in 2012 by the police or the gendarmerie … The website Terraeco pulled

by Bora Mici September 9, 2014 No comments

Bicyclist in Paris, France

At the end of last June, the Ministry of the Interior published data on corporal accidents related to road traffic in France, and from this data, it generated a very interesting chart, referencing in great detail the total of 62,000 accidents listed in 2012 by the police or the gendarmerie ...

The website Terraeco pulled from it the 4,360 accidents involving bicycles, and here is a new chart where they are enumerated.

One can note, but it's obvious, that the danger is really the car. Seventy-eight percent of accidents involved a car (out of 62,000 counted), while only 7% involved a bicycle. Out of the 3,842 road victims in 2012, we counted 522 pedestrians and 185 bicyclists. So, we concluded that 80% of lethal accidents took place between motor vehicles. Not only is the automobile responsible for the death of those who are more vulnerable than it (pedestrians and cyclists), but moreover, drivers kill one another more often.

Bicycling in Paris, France

Another note: most lethal accidents are from isolated places outside of cities. The practice of biking is therefore not dangerous where most people imagine, meaning in the city, and even more so in Paris. On the contrary, the accidents, while being less lethal, are more numerous in the city. According to the numbers of the ministry, 64% of people who were killed while on a bike in 2012 were biking outside of the metropolitan area, but 85% of bicycle accidents took place in the city. How do we explain this? Very easily because the practice of cycling in the city has literally exploded in the last 10 years; therefore, the number of accidents has logically increased, and the more populated cities are, the more cyclists they have. But it's inversely proportional. Here is the prognosis: out of the 185 cyclists killed in 2012, only 33 were in communes of more than 20,000 inhabitants. This number falls to 13 killed if we reduce the field to the "large" conurbations, meaning communes of more than 100,000 inhabitants. We can concluded that the greater the number of cyclists, the higher the bicyclist's security.

Also, the bicycle is much less dangerous for other road users. According to the data provided by the Ministry of the Interior, out of 11,000 pedestrian accidents in 2012, 72% among them were injured by a car, whereas only 2% by a cyclist. And just so you know, out of the 522 pedestrians killed in 2012, 3 were killed by cyclists. Therefore, the risk to others is low, even if the behavior of cyclists, especially in Paris, is far from exemplary.

What has your city done to increase bicyclist safety?

Original article, originally published in French, here.

Credits: Data and images linked to sources.

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Bora Mici has a background in design and online writing. Most recently, she has worked as an online contributor for DC Mud, Patch.com, GoodSpeaks.org and WatchingAmerica.com, covering urban planning and visual and performing arts in the Washington, D...

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