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Accid Anal Prev. 2013 Mar;52:219-27. doi: 10.1016/j.aap.2012.12.017. Epub 2013 Feb 7.

The safety of urban cycle tracks: a review of the literature.

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Transportation Choices for Sustainable Communities Research and Policy Institute, Oakland, CA, USA.


Cycling has to be a safe activity, and perceived as such, if bicycle trips by all populations are to increase and the public health benefits are to be realized. A key characteristic of developed countries with a high cycling mode share is their provision of cycle tracks--separated bikeways along city streets--on major routes. This literature review therefore sought to examine studies of cycle tracks from different countries in order elucidate the safety of these facilities relative to cycling in the street and to point to areas where further research is needed. The review indicates that one-way cycle tracks are generally safer at intersections than two-way and that, when effective intersection treatments are employed, constructing cycle tracks on busy streets reduces collisions and injuries. The evidence also suggests that, when controlling for exposure and including all collision types, building one-way cycle tracks reduces injury severity even when such intersection treatments are not employed. However, the extent of this effect has not been well examined, as very few studies both look at severity and control for exposure. Future studies of the safety of cycle tracks and associated intersection treatments should focus foremost on examining injury severity, while controlling for exposure. In the U.S., where the obesity epidemic and its health consequences and costs are well documented, the benefits of increased cycling should be a focus of research and policy development in order to provide the infrastructure needed to attract people to cycling while minimizing injuries.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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