Photo courtesy of Green Lane Project/ Bikes Belong
55th Street protected bike lane, Chicago, IL55th Street protected bike lane, Chicago, IL.
The growing demand in cities for protected bicycle lanes has recently received valuable support in the form of new research from Canada.
A study led by Ryerson University in Toronto, ON, found that a lack of cycling infrastructure in urban areas increases the risk of injury to people using bicycles. “Our study is one of the first to take a comprehensive look at how route infrastructure, particularly at intersections and major roadways, might influence the risk of cyclist injury in Canada,” said Anne Harris, lead author of the study and an assistant professor with Ryerson’s School of Occupational and Public Health.
The infrastructure identified as the safest for bicycle riders includes separated bike lanes along major streets, bike routes with motorized traffic diversion on local streets, and bike-only paths separated from traffic. To improve the safety of intersections the researchers recommend maximum speed limits of less than 20 mph (30 km/h) for motorized vehicles.
“Our research demonstrates that transportation planners really need to segregate cyclists from motor vehicle traffic just as we use sidewalks to separate pedestrians,” said Harris.
University of Calgary health sciences student, Jackie Williamson, studied the cause of injuries to children cyclists in Edmonton and Calgary, AB. The study found that collisions with motor vehicles caused the greatest injuries and that injury severity was increased with greater vehicle speeds.