Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Greenways/Bike Lanes Heralded - John Forrester & Vehicular Cycling Debunked

The American Journal of Public Health published a Canadian study which proves that building bike infrastructure such as bike lanes, protected bike lanes, even bike paths, not only makes for significantly safer cycling but that such improvements are the preferred travel option of  regular, two wheeled  users of the road.

This contrasts with the myth long perpetrated by former Palo Alto, CA cyclist, John Forester, who long has had traffic engineers, even the League of American Bicyclists, convinced that cyclists should learn to behave like car drivers.

Good News for Greenway Builders and Improvers of Bicycle Infrastructure everywhere.


Route Infrastructure and the Risk of Injuries to Bicyclists: A Case-Crossover Study

Kay TeschkePhDM. Anne HarrisPhDConor C. O. ReynoldsPhDMeghan WintersPhDShelina BabulPhDMary ChipmanMAMichael D. CusimanoMD, PhDJeff R. BrubacherMD, MScGarth HunteMD, PhDSteven M. FriedmanMD, MPHMelody MonroMPAHui ShenPhDLee VernichMSc, and Peter A. CriptonPhD

Objectives. We compared cycling injury risks of 14 route types and other route infrastructure features.

Methods. We recruited 690 city residents injured while cycling in Toronto or Vancouver, Canada. A case-crossover design compared route infrastructure at each injury site to that of a randomly selected control site from the same trip.

Results. Of 14 route types, cycle tracks had the lowest risk (adjusted odds ratio [OR] = 0.11; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.02, 0.54), about one ninth the risk of the reference: major streets with parked cars and no bike infrastructure. Risks on major streets were lower without parked cars (adjusted OR = 0.63; 95% CI = 0.41, 0.96) and with bike lanes (adjusted OR = 0.54; 95% CI = 0.29, 1.01). Local streets also had lower risks (adjusted OR = 0.51; 95% CI = 0.31, 0.84). Other infrastructure characteristics were associated with increased risks: streetcar or train tracks (adjusted OR = 3.0; 95% CI = 1.8, 5.1), downhill grades (adjusted OR = 2.3; 95% CI = 1.7, 3.1), and construction (adjusted OR = 1.9; 95% CI = 1.3, 2.9).

Conclusions. The lower risks on quiet streets and with bike-specific infrastructure along busy streets support the route-design approach used in many northern European countries. Transportation infrastructure with lower bicycling injury risks merits public health support to reduce injuries and promote cycling. (Am J Public Health. Published online ahead of print October 18, 2012: e1-e8. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2012.300762)

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