In July [the New Urban Network] published an article on a surprising trend in New York City — as bicycle use skyrockets, bicycle accidents are dropping. When many bicyclists are on the road, cycling safety improves substantially. This observation is consistent with data from other countries. Cycling is far safer in countries where bicycles are used more often — such as the Netherlands, Germany, and Denmark (see graph at bottom right).
Now comes data from Portland, Oregon, that suggests encouraging bicycle use leads to greater traffic safety in general. Check out the attached graphs [available with full article: click on title]. The one at top right shows the trend in bicycle use versus crashes in Portland. The bicycle use is counted across four major bridges connecting to downtown (these increases have also been documented in other parts of the city). Bicycle trips have more than tripled since 1991.