Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Bike lanes good

I am sick at home today which gave me a chance to catch up on some reading. This morning I had a look at the report, “The impact of transportation infrastructure on bicycling injuries and crashes: a review of the literature”. The report looks at bicycle safety, but first it talks about the health benefit to society. As you are well aware, Canadians are becoming more unhealthy every year. Obesity is having a very real impact on our society.
There are significant economic costs of physical inactivity, and benefit-cost analyses suggest that the benefits of increased cycling are worth approximately four to five times the costs of investing in new cycling infrastructure.
So, what can we do to improve cycling safety? It’s really quite simple, build well-lit, marked bike lanes (whether on-street or off-street) and provide separated cycle tracks through roundabouts. Following these suggestions will reduce cycling crashes by 50%.
The principal trend that emerges from the papers reviewed here is that clearly-marked, bike-specific facilities (i.e. cycle tracks at roundabouts, bike routes, bike lanes, and bike paths) were consistently shown to provide improved safety for cyclists compared to on-road cycling with traffic or off-road with pedestrians and other users.
Interesting enough cycling on the sidewalk can carry a higher risk then riding on a road; also, mixing cycling and walking without separation is not a good idea.

Since cycling infrastructure pays for itself, why aren't we building more?

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