Study Shows That Dedicated Bike Lanes Cut Injuries in Half

jarvis bike laneLloyd Alter/CC BY 2.0

When the first accident happens after this bike lane on Toronto's Jarvis Street is removed, Mayor Ford and the city councillors who voted to do it will have blood on their hands. Now there is real evidence, from a study done in Vancouver and Toronto, that bike lanes reduce the chance of injury by 50%. Separated bike lanes reduce it by 90%. Emily Badger at the Atlantic Cities reviews the study, Route Infrastructure and the Risk of Injuries to Bicyclists: A Case-Crossover Study and notes:

The research will provide weighty evidence for advocates of dedicated bike infrastructure precisely because transportation engineers have long believed the exact opposite to be true. For years, they’ve counter-intuitively argued that you’re actually better off learning to ride alongside cars than having your own bike lane.

It has also been assumed that cyclists, particularly experienced riders prefer to ride on major streets. Fortunately, study author Key Teschke had earlier research on rider preferences, and cross-referenced the two studies. She tells Badger:

We were told in advance that young males and people who are experienced riders would tell you they’d rather ride on major streets without bike infrastructure," she recalls. "It turned out not to be true. Everyone had the same order or preferences.

bike diagram© Route Infrastructure and the Risk of Injuries to Bicyclists

So not only is there conclusive proof now that bike lanes significantly reduce injuries, but if you build them, they will come. More in the Atlantic Cities

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