If you enjoy biking a great deal but are hesitant to ride on the street for fear of being hit, you may find the following statistics to be comforting. Studies on attentional blindness, the phenomenon of not being able to perceive an object although it may be directly in a person's line of vision, in urban settings have suggested that cities that have more active cyclists record having less accidents involving cars and bikes per year than in cities who have fewer cyclists. If you have ever heard of a situation where a motorist struck someone walking or biking, and the motorist claimed that he or she literally did not see the pedestrian or cyclist, the motorist may have been telling the truth. Statistically speaking, a human has a greater chance of literally not perceiving an object directly in front of them if they are not specifically looking for it. This can be demonstrated in The Monkey Business Illusion.
Richmond, Virginia is a city with a great amount of bicycles, especially around Virginia Commonwealth University. As suggested above, fact that there are so many cyclists hustling and bustling about decreases the chance of an accident occurring because of inattentional blindness on the motorist's part. The fact that a lot of the motorists on the road are active cyclists themselves helps decrease the chances of accidents between cars and bikes as well. Being emotionally aware of how dangerous and often times stressful riding along the streets can be may increase an individuals likelihood of keeping a lookout for others on the road. All-in-all: the greater the population of cyclists in a city, the more aware motorists are of them, the less accidents there will be.
Biking is a great way to get and stay in shape. Not only are statistics on your side when it comes to staying safe on the road in Richmond, you can also take extra precautions and purchase reflectors, flashing bike lights for those night time rides, and reflective vests so that you stand out that much more.