As Austin City Council prepares to proclaim May as National Bike Month, the City’s Public Works Department announces a bit of welcome news: bicycling and walking in Austin are becoming safer each year. The department recently analyzed bicycle and pedestrian crash trends from 2005 to 2012 and found that while the raw number of bicycling and walking crashes is increasing, the number of people bicycling and walking is increasing faster. The result is that the crash rates (that is, the likelihood of an individual to be involved in a collision with a motor vehicle) are steadily decreasing both citywide and in central Austin. Click here to view more information on the trends and statistics (ppt).
According to Nathan Wilkes, Engineering Associate with Public Works, “It has been well documented in many cities, including Portland, that over time as the total number of bicyclists increases, the crash rate goes down…with more and more citizens embracing this clean, affordable form of transportation, we are seeing this same pattern in Austin.” In recent years, the number of people choosing bicycling as a means of transportation has increased dramatically. For example, in 2011 bicycling rates in Austin nearly doubled, hitting 2 percent of all commuters citywide, and 5 percent within a three-mile distance from downtown Austin.
Throughout May, the Public Works Department will host several events designed to encourage even more bicycle transportation, including Bike to School Day on May 8 and Bike to Work Day on May 17. The department will also celebrate the newly completed Barton Springs Cycle Track and Bicycle Improvements Project with a breakfast station, ceremony, and inaugural ride on Bike to Work Day.
With a bicycle commuter goal of 5 percent citywide by 2020, the City’s Bicycle Program encourages bicycling as a mode of transportation and for recreation. Events such as Bike to Work Day help provide the community with the tools and information to choose a different way to commute. For more information on upcoming Bike Month activities, visit: austintexas.gov/bikemonth2013.
Communications and Public Information Office
301 W. 2nd Street, Austin, TX 78701