Study Examines Safety in Cities with High, Low Biking RatesĀ 

Study Examines Safety in Cities with High, Low Biking RatesĀ 

More bicycle infrastructure can improve safety for all road users as it heightens the visibility and awareness of bicyclists and pedestrians have “strength in numbers” but the strongest relationship with improved safety are lower vehicle speeds and fewer vehicle trips that are likely a result of high-density land use development and transportation networks. 

Those are the findings of a recent study, “Traffic safety for all road users: A paired comparison study of small & mid-sized U.S. cities with high/low bicycling rates,” published in the Journal of Cycling and Micromobility Research by Nicholas N. Ferenchak, assistant professor in the Gerald May Department of Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering at the University of New Mexico, and Wesley E. Marshall, professor at the College of Engineering and Applied Science at the University of Colorado-Denver. 

“If cities wish to improve traffic safety outcomes, they should first and foremost plan and design for the convenience and safety of those not using a personal automobile,” the authors noted. Bicycling activity is significantly associated with better safety for all road users, and reduced exposure to driving has the strongest relationship with improved safety. Safer mid-sized cities tend to be more compact. 

The authors examined 10 years of data across 14 small and mid-sized U.S. cities with populations between 50,000 and 200,000 residents. Seven high-bicycling cities (those with high bike commuter mode share greater than triple the national average of 0.5 percent) were paired with seven cities that had low or average rates of bicycle commuting but otherwise similar population and geography. 

Read the full study here.