The dangers of ride-hailing to motorists, pedestrians

If you have had a little too much to drink, ride-hailing is a convenient and safe option. You are not endangering anyone by driving while impaired.

Yet a new study debunks the idea that ride-hailing increases public safety. In fact, it found a corresponding increase in crash risks for some people.

What the study found

The study notes alcohol-related accidents decline in cities with ride-hailing services such as Uber or Lyft. However, the total number of injury-related crashes in those cities remains level.

In effect, ride-hailing increases safety for some people while decreasing safety for others. If you have been drinking, getting behind the wheel is never a good idea. Yet the crash risk is greater for motorists and pedestrians at busy pick-up and drop-off sites. The study did not find a similar rise in peril for cyclist or taxi trips.

Researchers at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health conducted the study. They focused on data involving 372 million ride-hailing trips in New York City for 2017 and 2018.

What the study means to cities

Researchers say the problem is acute in cities because of traffic congestion. They also believe cities can use information from their report to increase safety. One suggestion is to install taxi-rank style infrastructure to protect motorists and pedestrians. Additional safety training for ride-hailing drivers is another option.

Until cities and ride-hailing services acknowledge the risk and take action, the danger to the public remains real. If you or a loved one suffers an injury in a ride-hailing accident, you need to know how to protect your rights.

What the study means to you

Ride-hailing remains popular for billions of people every year because it is so easy to use. Pushing a few buttons on your phone summons transportation. Yet the study also shows the limits of the benefits of ride-sharing services. For some, the cost of convenience is an increased risk of injury.