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Bike City USA: Bicycle Safety Initiatives In Columbus

Columbus is about invest more than $5 million in a series of new initiatives to make the city more bike-friendly. In the words of Mayor Coleman, Columbus is on its way to being "Bike City USA." Perhaps surprisingly, higher numbers of bikers actually improve bike safety-several studies confirm that accident rates decline with larger biker populations.

The new initiatives include dedicated and well-marked bike lanes, storage shelters, and racks. A bike-share program is also slated to start in July, offering rental bikes from 30 stations around the city.

Bikers face serious risks when sharing roads with cars and other large vehicles. Whether commuting or just riding for recreation, bicyclists are often involved in severe accidents.

However, in cities with high rates of bike use, an interesting pattern has emerged in recent years. With more bikers on the road, bicycle accidents actually decrease significantly. Researchers believe that the main reason for this is that car drivers become more accustomed to sharing the road with bikers. When drivers expect to encounter a biker, they are more prepared to react to avoid a dangerous situation.

Source: Columbus Dispatch, "City backs bikes, but enough?" Rick Rouan, June 25, 2013

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