Road safety in megacities: Bikers, pedestrians beware

Road safety in megacities: Bikers, pedestrians beware

(Medical Xpress)—Rapid growth of large cities throughout the world is having enormous impact on traffic safety in urban areas, say researchers at the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute.

"Recent reports have documented and discussed the ever-increasing of nations and the resulting increase in the number of —and the potential implications for in these megacities (urban areas with 10 million or more people)," said UMTRI researcher Brandon Schoettle.

In a new study, Schoettle and colleague Michael Sivak examined in two European megacities—London and Paris. An earlier study by Sivak and Shan Bao looked at New York and Los Angeles.

In all four cities, fatal crashes involving drivers and passengers in vehicles are less prevalent relative to national rates for each country. However, for pedestrians, bicyclists and motorcyclists, are much higher in the urban areas.

In London, 53 percent of fatal crashes from 2005 to 2011 involved pedestrians, compared to 22 percent for the United Kingdom, overall. In Paris, the fatal for pedestrians in 2010-11 was 36 percent, compared to less than 13 percent for all of France.

were involved in half of all fatal crashes in New York City and about a third of those in Los Angeles—much higher than the 22.5 percent rate for the state of New York, 17 percent for California and 11 percent nationally from 2002 to 2009.

Likewise, riding a two-wheeler is usually more dangerous in . About 41 percent of all fatal crashes in Paris and 21 percent in London involved motorcycles, compared to rates of about 20 percent for both France and the U.K.

While bicycles were involved in slightly fewer fatal crashes in Paris relative to France on the whole, bicyclists were killed at higher rates in London, New York and Los Angeles, compared to national figures. For London, 15 percent of fatal crashes involved bicycles, compared to 5 percent for the entire U.K. The percentages for New York and Los Angeles were 6 and 3, respectively, while the U.S. rate was less than 2 percent.

For all four cities, both studies analyzed fatal crashes in terms of types of crashes and roadways, road and light conditions, driver behaviors, time of day and week, weather, age and gender.

Among the findings (relative to national rates):

  • More single-vehicle crashes.
  • More crashes on low-speed and one-way streets.
  • More crashes and fatalities involving male drivers.
  • More crashes involving drivers ages 25-45.
  • Fewer crashes involving alcohol.
  • Fewer crashes during rain or snow and on wet or snowy roads.
Other findings:
  • More weekend crashes in New York and Los Angeles, but more weekday crashes in London.
  • More crashes and more fatal crashes at night in New York and Los Angeles, but more crashes and more fatal crashes during morning (commuting hours) in London.
  • More fatal crashes on divided highways in New York and Los Angeles, but fewer in London.
  • Fewer fatal crashes caused by young drivers in Paris than in London.
  • Fewer involving alcohol in Paris than in London.

More information: U-M Transportation Research Institute: www.umtri.umich.edu

Related Stories

Fatal crashes fall among teen drivers

date Apr 07, 2011

Programs that create some common-sense restrictions when young drivers get behind the wheel have helped cut the rate of deadly crashes by more than half. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) looked at fatal ...

Recommended for you

Should men cut back on their soy intake?

date 1 hour ago

Recently, a friend called my husband to inquire about the risks for men in consuming too much soy milk. He had read an article that described how one individual's plight led him down the path of breast enlargement, and was ...

Probing Question: What is umami?

date 2 hours ago

The next time you're at a dinner party and want to spice up the conversation, you might compliment the hosts on their umami-rich appetizers. Then wait a moment until someone invariably asks, "What's umami?"

Will the Affordable Care Act eliminate health disparities?

date 3 hours ago

Massachusetts' health reform may be a crystal ball for researchers and policymakers in forecasting the potential impact of the Affordable Care Act. Many see the ACA as the backbone of efforts toward closing the nation's health ...

Experts question election pledges on GP access

date 14 hours ago

As the general election in the UK approaches, experts writing in The BMJ this week question whether the party promises on access to general practice are likely to be achievable.

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.