Source:University of Colorado DenverSource:University of Colorado Denver
Date:May 29, 2019
In the most comprehensive look at bicycle and road safety to date, researchers at the University of Colorado Denver and the University of New Mexico discovered that it’s not the cyclists, but the infrastructure built for them, that is making roads safer for everyone.
“Bicycling seems inherently dangerous on its own,” said study co-author Wesley Marshall, PhD, PE, assistant professor in the College of Engineering, Design and Computing at CU Denver. “So it would seem that a city with a lot of bicycling is more dangerous, but the opposite is true. Building safe facilities for cyclists turned out to be one of the biggest factors in road safety for everyone.”
The study published in the Journal of Transport & Health found that bike facilities act as “calming” mechanisms on traffic, slowing cars and reducing fatalities. The effect is similar to the effect of grid blocks found in cities with higher intersection density
Researchers looked through 13 years of data from 12 large U.S. cities with high-bicycling mode shares, including Denver, Dallas, Portland, Ore., and Kansas City, Mo. During those years, the United States saw a 51% increase in bicycling to work and the number of protected bike lanes double each year starting in 2009. In a longitudinal study, the researchers investigated over 17,000 fatalities and 77,000 severe injuries.