That, at least, appears to be the lesson of this chart
, which shows the increasing number of bike riders and declining number of bike-related accidents in New York City since 1998.This trend is due in part to New York's aggressive and smart Bicycle Network Development Program-begun in the mid-1990s-which expanded bike access on greenways and established a number of new on-street biking routes chosen, in part, for their low conflict with "existing modes of transportation." This map from their 1997 bicycle master plan
shows what they had in mind at the time.
But, as Ben Fried
and Matt Yglesias
point out, there's also a "safety in numbers" effect. As more people bike, everyone (especially motorists) gets used to accommodating them on the streets, and cycling gets safer.