While riding a bike or walking around Seattle can sometimes feel like a navigating a defensive obstacle course, a new benchmarking report by the Alliance on Biking and Walking has found that our city ranks among the very safest cities for cyclists and pedestrians, with 1.7 cyclist fatalities and 2.7 pedestrian fatalities for every 10,000 commuters. We rank only behind Boston, which records 2.5 cyclist fatalities and 0.9 pedestrian fatalities.
The Alliance found that, in general, the number of fatalities drops in cities where cyclists and pedestrians make up a larger percentage of daily commuters. In Seattle, 12 percent of commuters walk or bike to work, whereas in Jacksonville, Fla., the city with the highest number of fatalities (33.1), only 1.7 percent do. The Alliance’s reasoning is that vehicle drivers who are used to sharing the roads with cyclists and routinely have to navigate around a large number of pedestrians are more likely to be aware of them and drive more carefully. With the cycle track having recently been installed on Broadway and the ever-increasing number of bike lanes all over the city, this trend suggests that the larger and more visible our biking population is, the safer its members will be.