Rising Numbers of Pedestrians Being Hit by Bicycles in Tel Aviv

Bicycles hitting pedestrians caused over 1,600 emergency-room visits to Tel Aviv's Ichilov Hospital in 2013.

Nir Kafri

The number of accidents in which bicycles hit pedestrians in Tel Aviv rose significantly last year, resulting in 1,612 emergency-room visits to Ichilov Hospital in 2013. In 2012, that number was 1,028.

The figures were presented yesterday at a meeting of the city’s transportation, building and infrastructure committee, in the presence of Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai. Committee chairwoman Meital Lahavi cited the data.

Huldai warned that the increasing popularity of two-wheeled vehicles, especially electric bicycles, has caught lawmakers off-guard and is part of the reason for the marked increase in bicycle-pedestrian collisions. Lahavi pointed out that there are no regulations governing the operation of electric bicycles, and no insurance requirements.

The Transportation Ministry and the Israel Police are drafting a bill that would regulate the use of electric bicycles and scooters.

1 in 10 trips by bike

Tel Aviv-Jaffa has around 120 kilometers of bike paths and lanes, and that number is constantly rising. An estimated 9 percent of trips within the city are made using bicycles.

The quite successful Tel-O-Fun bike share program is set to expand into the nearby cities of Givatayim and Bnei Brak, Lahavi noted. She said that despite numerous complaints about the bike share system, service is improving.

Huldai also spoke about public transportation.

“Not only has the situation failed to improve in the last 15 years, it has gotten worse,” the mayor said. “There are no designated lanes for public transportation into Tel Aviv, and as the number of cars has increased, buses have become slower. We must increase pressure on the national government in order to enable the centralized management of transportation in the metropolis.”

The city has plans to build a new pedestrian and bicycle bridge over the Ayalon freeway.

Another idea the municipality is trying to advance to increase road safety is the introduction of “bike boxes,” designated areas at intersections, indicating stopping lines for bicyclists, to allow them to make safer turns.