Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Finally a Conclusive Literature Review on Cycling Infrastructure and Safety

Finally a decent, conclusive literature review on cycling infrastructure! The researchers at UBC did a great job with their report, which reviewed several dozen English-language studies and was released just a few weeks ago. Check it out: Winters, Meghan et al. The impact of transportation infrastructure on bicycling injuries and crashes: a review of the literature. Environmental Health 2009, 8:47. There's a PDF link at the bottom of the page. A hat tip to Elly at Bike Portland for the heads-up.

Of course, many studies have been done on infrastructure, but they have been mostly limited to specific situations. Although in the end, a large proportion of the data that these authors reviewed still turned out to be limited and inconclusive (proving that much more rigorous study is needed), they did conclude the following:

"The principal trend that emerges from the papers reviewed here is that clearly-marked, bike-specific facilities (i.e. cycle tracks at roundabouts, bike routes, bike lanes, and bike paths) were consistently shown to provide improved safety for cyclists compared to on-road cycling with traffic or off-road with pedestrians and other users. Marked bike lanes and bike routes were found to reduce injury or crash rates by about half compared to unmodified roadways."

When it comes to understanding the impact of infrastructure on transportation safety, access and promotion, this is the equivalent of a breakthrough. In light of the research, it is no surprise that so many communities are passing Complete Streets bills and that the CDC is specifically recommending bike lanes and crosswalks as a cure for the nation's still-expanding obesity epidemic.

1 comment:

James Calnan said...

So glad to see the link to the report on Twitter

In Brantford we're redesigning a major arterial intersection, right where it meets the trailhead, and a roundabout is being proposed...
After reading this, I'm even more worried about that roundabout