More Copenhagen Bicycle Eye Candy

From Copenhagenize.com:

10 comments

  1. When y’all get a chance, I’d appreciate a thoughtful post about the url link, which is about the effects of bike infrastructure in Copenhagen. I have doubts about the methodology, it not being explained real well, but the conclusions include:

    Cycle tracks increase cycling 18-20%
    Cycle tracks increase accidents 9-10%
    Cycle lanes were less effective at increasing cycling and it was unclear if they raised accidents more than cycle tracks

    The paper did not discuss to what extent (if any) all this infrastructure caused cyclists to lose road riding rights they enjoyed previously.

  2. Hi Steve,

    Yes, I do intend on doing a thorough follow-up to this particular study, as I know VC’s typically highlight it as justification to avoid cycle tracks, though the authors’ conclusions on lanes + tracks are unambiguous:

    “Taken in combination, the cycle tracks and lanes which have been constructed have had positive results as far as traffic volumes and feelings of security go. They have however, had negative effects on road safety. The radical effects on traffic volumes resulting from the construction of cycle tracks will undoubtedly result in gains in health from increased physical activity. These gains are much, much greater than the losses in health resulting from a slight decline in road safety.”

    I’ve emailed Søren Underlien Jensen, one of the study’s authors, to provide a detailed response and hope to post shortly.

  3. Certainly, though I didn’t see any data to back it up, the author appeared to feel that further danger mitigation could be accomplished. I imagine that as in most places, there are some “bad apple” locations that create a large fraction of the collisions.

    I look forward to the follow-up. If he’s able to, I’d also appreciate any observations of what effect, if any, the infrastructure changes have made in average cyclist speeds, as well as any thoughts on how he might conceive extending such a system to a place like DFW. Would he saturate in a small area like Oak Cliff & then add going outwards or would he scattershot stuff?

    Y’all might make good guinea pigs. If it doesn’t work, send those bike racks my way!

  4. Good question, I’ll forward that on as well to see his response. One thing I didn’t mention earlier…on my last trip to Portland, I did cite the same study you mentioned when educating myself on bicycle infrastructure, and their planner made the following analogy:

    A city can designate any area as a “park”, which is simply a grass field without any people-friendly amenities. There will be a small amount of users that may come and you’ll have very few incidents. As soon as you add swings, slides, and a trail, you’ll see a radical increase in users, and a slight increase in accidents due to the increased traffic and use of the equipment, but the overall net gain from health, activity, and accessibility brought out by people-first infrastructure is so great that it easily justifies implementation.

  5. I think, and I think BFOC would agree, that a saturation approach in a neighborhood (like Oak Cliff) amenable to an approach would be superior to “a little of this here,” and “a little of that somewhere else” to truly test how well these approaches work in a real DFW environment.

    With a critical approach, we can do more of what works and re-examine the reasons for failure for what doesn’t work. As long as PROVEN failures are avoided (some of which we disagree on), such an approach advances the state of the art. I’d like to think we can do better than Portland, if only because we have their example to guide us.

    My only BFOC plea is just find a way to make EDUCATION a part of each approach – and in a people friendly way. People on bikes that are smarter about bicycling will do better (and enjoy themselves more) even in the failure situations and they’ll thrive more in the success situations. Most of this isn’t really rocket science – like not running red lights, riding in the right direction, & not buzzing pedestrians.

    The trick is how to feed eduction into people without being all preachy and stuffy about it. You get preachy, and you’ll undercut the message – that bicycling’s fun AND safe! Crimeny, I’m starting to get preachy – better shut up now…

  6. DISCLOSURE:

    Living in Colleyville, if things worked well in Oak Cliff, it’d not be hard for me to get over there to ride there on weekends. If things turned out disastrously, it’d be even easier not to make the effort. I guess that’d make me an “interested observer.”

  7. Agreed. and I would expect education would exist in all cases regarding cycling…my question is why is it always discussed but never pursued by VC’s who claim it is the perfect solution? There are many more ways to get things done than by waiting for government fuding. We prove that on a regular basis in Oak Cliff.

    As far as the “If things turned out disastrously” claim, I think that would be far-fetched, considering there hasn’t been a single city in the World yet that’s pulled out all of its bicycle infrastructure. You can cite a single lane here or there that may have been contentious, but overall every major US city with existing infrastructure has either added more lanes/tracks, or have more in their comprehensive plans. Someday, VC’s are going to have to admit that Portland isn’t the failure they had hoped it would be, and the reports of its demise were greatly exaggerated. Someday. 😉

    I hope to have the report I’ve assessed of the study you cited soon. It’s actually grown into quite a feat where I’ve had to pull in professors and statisticians to help clarify areas of confusion. I’ll have them chime in as well. There are a couple of components missing though, and I have to order a single study which is noted but not freely available in the study. We’ll post as soon as it’s all pulled together.

  8. RE the education item:

    I don’t know, you’d have to ask bikeDFW, who never held the Traffic 101 class I signed up and paid for.

    Now, I’m looking for a motorcyle training class, as at least SOMETHING. In reality, bicyclists are pretty similar to motorcyclists with really pathetically underpowered, biological engines.

  9. Alright, I was finally able to post the breakdown of the study you requested info on:

    https://bikefriendlyoc.wordpress.com/2009/07/08/ask-the-experts-s%c3%b8ren-underlien-jensen-and-dr-lon-d-roberts-phd/

    I understand the confusion you had in the final analysis, as I too was a bit perplexed. That 9% figure is simply the increased accident rate of the total number. To the layman (like myself), the assumption you’d draw is that a cycle track increased your personal risk by 9%, while in actuality, your risk drops. We weren’t given his base figure, but if you used 10 accidents per 10,000, and then added in the increase in traffic volumes (18%) by implementing cycle tracks while increasing overall accidents by 9%, your individual risk of accident would drop from .1% to .09%.

    The fascinating thing about this study is that when taken in combination w/Jacoben’s “Safety in Numbers” study, and the recent reports that Copenhagen has reached 50% ridership, it explains why their planners have noted on prior occasions that they’re seeing decimal point accident levels.

    Thanks for posting the question.

  10. BikeDFW is holding the Traffic Skills 101 (Road I) on July 24 at the Dallas REI.

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