Where Biking is Safe

Not all bike riding is created equal. Sometimes it’s really dangerous, and sometimes it’s not.

The Atlantic Cities reported Monday on new research that explores 14 different types of bike lanes and what kind of injuries they’re likely to produce:

As it turns out, infrastructure really matters. Your chance of injury drops by about 50 percent, relative to that major city street, when riding on a similar road with a bike lane and no parked cars. The same improvement occurs on bike paths and local streets with designated bike routes. And protected bike lanes – with actual barriers separating cyclists from traffic – really make a difference. The risk of injury drops for riders there by 90 percent.

In light of this kind of evidence, there’s less and less justification for delaying bike infrastructure construction.

But the article doesn’t just touch on safety.

A bike lane on Center Street in Provo.

Instead, it also points out that people prefer the kinds of lanes that make them safer. Though the researchers were worried that people might prefer less safe routes, the article notes that in fact “people have good gut feelings.”

Making one more logical leap, it stands to reason that much like induced demand for car infrastructure, better bike lanes will lead to more biking.

On a related note, via Twitter Megan Geilman shared the video below with me yesterday and I found it so inspiring I wanted to mention it here. The video details how the Dutch built a world-leading bike system. Not surprisingly, it was by fighting against the kinds of things I criticized in yesterday’s posts.

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