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cycle lanes in winchmore hillProtected cycle lanes, such as these in Winchmore Hill, have been shown to sharply reduce fatalities among all road users, not just cyclists

The most comprehensive study of bicycle and road safety to date finds that building safe facilities for cyclists is one of the biggest factors in road safety for everyone. Bicycling infrastructure -- specifically, separated and protected bike lanes -- leads to fewer fatalities and better road-safety outcomes for all road users.  The study shows that "roads are safer for motorists, pedestrians and cyclists in cities with robust bike facilities".

Researchers studied road safety statistics for 12 US cities over a 13-year period and found that protected bike lanes were associated with very high reductions in fatalities among all road users - not just among cyclists.  They cite reductions of fatalities ranging from 38.2 per cent to as much as 75 per cent.

"Bicycling seems inherently dangerous on its own," said study co-author Wesley Marshall, PhD, PE, assistant professor in the College of Engineering, Design and Computing at CU Denver. "So it would seem that a city with a lot of bicycling is more dangerous, but the opposite is true. Building safe facilities for cyclists turned out to be one of the biggest factors in road safety for everyone."

The study, published in the Journal of Transport & Health, found that bike facilities act as "calming" mechanisms on traffic, drivers become more aware of their surrounding, drive more slowly, and there is a consequent reduction in fatalities.

In the UK, 26,610 people were killed or seriously injured on the roads in the year to June 2018, the last period for which government statistics are available. Around one in 20 of those were cyclists.

Support for building more protected cycling infrastructure in the UK comes not just from organisations such as the London Cycling Campaign and its local branch, the Enfield Cycling Campaign, but also from London Living Streets, which works to improve conditions for pedestrians in the capital and - most significantly perhaps - from the AA, whose president, Edmund King, is quoted as saying "Our own extensive research shows that 84 per cent of drivers who cycle feel safest on dedicated cycle ways, hence we support calls for more cycle lanes. The fact that 65 per cent of drivers are still 'surprised when a cyclist appears from nowhere' – which obviously they don't – shows that they need to be more aware of their surroundings when driving at all times, and dedicated lanes would help."


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Neil Littman's Avatar
Neil Littman posted a reply #4569 06 Jun 2019 12:50
Don't think anyone would argue with the fact that protected cycle lanes provide a much higher level of safety but it doesn't alter the fact that Enfield Council did waste a lot of money on the various schemes particularly with the bus boarders which provide a lower level of safety for pedestrians, in particular those with disabilities and children in buggies and as a result this has put them in conflict with cyclists. They are two completely different subjects.
David Hughes's Avatar
David Hughes posted a reply #4578 07 Jun 2019 17:34
I'm not sure I fully understand Neil L's contribution, but I'm going to continue on the basis that 'bus boarders' are the raised platforms at the bus stops along the cycle lanes.

I ride along some or all of the cycle lanes on the A105 Green Lanes most days partly because my very aged legs and thighs cope best with cycling rather than walking; I cycle most local journeys . Inevitably I often arrive at a bus stop when people are waiting for a bus or actually boarding one. If they are waiting they mostly stay well-behind the cycle lane section and only occasionally have to step backwards to the pavement as I approach. As you would imagine kids sometimes leave it a bit late, but I have never had any sort of confrontation or pause in my progress.

If people are actually boarding I simply stop and wait or, if I spot the boarding well ahead and it's safe, I will sometimes move to the main carriageway and pass the bus there.

Just once have I seen a cyclist leave the cycle-lane section on a bus-boarder and swerve onto the pavement behind the bus stop. That could be very dangerous especially if children are in the queue, but it's no more dangerous than people miss-using pedestrian crossings. Everyday most of us accept some sort of risks on the roads.

As I understand it the Council looked hard and long at the design of bus stops. It was well done, and if it's not perfectly safe that's no different to any facet of a well-used highway. Indeed, I suspect that what lies behind any expressed fears has more to do with unhappiness about curtailed 'car-space' than increased risk. If so car drivers are going to have a hard time as action to reduce the dangers of poor air quality, climate-change and under-exercised residents take hold. The Government will be slow to act, but eventually it will have to.
Neil Littman's Avatar
Neil Littman posted a reply #4580 08 Jun 2019 12:42
David, you sound like a considerate cyclist to me. I'm afraid there are others who do not behave the way you do when approaching a bus stop. There was an article published recently elsewhere about issues that sight impaired people are having with the bus borders.