Cycling has become very popular in short order in urban areas around the world, which hasn’t left much time for drivers and bikers to figure out how to share the road. Injury and even death happens with far too much frequency, and a new study shows just how important separated bike lanes are to the welfare of cyclists.
The University of British Columbia study followed 690 cyclists, and found that when it came to safety, separated bike lanes reduced the risk of accident and injury by 90%. That is a huge drop, one that would give people who have reservations about biking cause to reconsider.
The accidents recorded by the study were usually short trips under 5km in length, and the study also found that street features like railroad or streetcar tracks could triple the chance of injury. Riding in designated-but-not-separated bike lanes about halved the risk of injury compared with regular street riding.
The study also found that most people were unwilling to ride on roads without at least designated bike paths, only doing so when they had to. One could hypothesize that more dedicated and separated bike lanes would encourage even more people to hop on their bicycle. That seems to be the effect Denmark’s new dedicated bike “highway” is having, though that country is already quite bike friendly. Other cities, including London, are considering even more outlandish highway systems for their local cyclists.
I know I would rather ride my bike then take the bus, but not on my city streets, which lack any sort of bike lanes whatsoever. Would more dedicated bike lanes get you to trade in your car for a cycle?