Bicycle infrastructure can reduce risk of cycling injuries by half

Certain types of routes carry much lower risk of injury for cyclists, according to a new University of British Columbia study on the eve of Vancouver's Bike to Work Week.

The study, published today in the , analyzed the cause of 690 injuries in Vancouver and Toronto from 2008 to 2009 and various route types and infrastructure.

The greatest risk to cyclists occurs when they share major streets with parked cars, with no present – like on Broadway in Vancouver or Dundas Street in Toronto. Without a designated space on the road, cyclists face a heightened risk of injury from moving cars and car doors opening, according to the study.

In contrast, infrastructure designed for cyclists – including bike lanes on major streets without parked cars, residential street bike routes, and off-street bike paths – carries about half the risk, while cycle tracks (physically separated bike lanes) carries the lowest injury risk for cyclists, at about one-tenth the risk.

"Cycle tracks and other bike-specific infrastructure are prevalent in the cycling cities of , but have been slow to catch on in North America," says Kay Teschke, a professor in UBC's School of Population and Public Health and lead author of the study. "Adoption of safer route infrastructure would prevent crashes from occurring in the first place, while encouraging cycling. Since cycling offers major health benefits, this is a win-win."

Teschke says that increased injury risk also exists with streetcar or train tracks, and where there is construction. "There is renewed interest in streetcars for , and the associated tracks were found to be particularly hazardous for cyclists," she adds. "There is also higher risk when construction impacts road traffic. Safe detours for need to be provided."

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Bike lanes inspire more cycling, says study

Jan 07, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- Are the freshly striped bicycle lanes on many New Orleans streets enticing more people to ride their bikes? A new Tulane University study sees a big increase in cycling along St. Claude Avenue, ...

New Irish study on how safe cyclists feel

Jul 31, 2012

The findings of the largest survey to date on the perception of safety among cyclists in Dublin have been published by engineering researchers at Trinity College Dublin, University College Cork and University of Hong Kong.

Study prompts safety precautions for cyclists

Jul 27, 2012

Interviews with cyclists hospitalised following road crashes have reinforced the importance of measures such as wearing helmets and bike lights, and better interaction between all road users.

Only 1 in 5 bike share cyclists wears a helmet

Apr 30, 2012

A national rise in public bike sharing programs could mean less air pollution and more exercise, an environmental and health win-win for people in the cities that host them, but according to researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess ...

Recommended for you

Improving clinical pain management practices

23 minutes ago

Oncologists treat cancer, neurologists specialise in brain disorders, immunologists diagnose infectious diseases, and a host of other specialists tackle ailments from broken bones to ruptured arteries. But ...

Train your brain to prefer healthy foods

26 minutes ago

"I can resist anything except temptation." Anyone who has ever been on a diet can relate to that quip from Oscar Wilde. No matter what the fad diet du jour says, the only way to lose weight is to reduce the net number of ...

Colorado proposes edible pot ban, then retreats

2 hours ago

Colorado health authorities suggested banning many edible forms of marijuana, including brownies, cookies and most candies. Then the officials quickly backtracked after the suggestion went public.

User comments