Harvard Study: “Pedaling in traffic 28 times more likely to hurt you than sticking to a bike lane”

The Daily posted an article on a recently announced study by the Harvard School of Public Health noting what we already see in Europe;  separated bike lanes increase ridership and reduce accidents. The full study can be found  here. What’s most impressive is that Scottsdale, Arizona now has 339 miles worth of separated bike lanes and is requiring all repavings to incorporate bicycle infrastructure. This study is timely given the Dallas Bike Plan adoption in April. We hope to see similar strides that cities like NYC, Minneapolis, and Scottsdale have made.


  1. Sleepy Head · ·

    No matter how confident you are riding the lane (like me), you never know when your number will come up in a situation you have absolutely no control over. On that note, the Santa Fe Trail sure is sweet ’round midnight. Bike lanes are vital.

    We just need to remember to advocate decent lanes. If it has potholes or ends at the wrong place…it is probably worse than a street lane.

  2. Your post intrigued me, so I read the article. While I’m all for bike lanes and strongly support the 2011 Dallas Bike Plan and BFOC, I believe your report on this article in Injury Prevention is inaccurate.

    The title states that “pedaling in traffic 28 times more likely to hurt you than sticking to a bike lane”.

    What the article really says is “Compared with bicycling on a reference street (no bike lanes), the overall RR (relative risk) of injury on a cycle track was 0.72 (95% CI 0.60 to 0.85); thus, these cycle tracks had a 28% lower injury rate.” If the risk on streets was 28 times greater than cycle tracks as you state, the relative risk would be 0.04. The conclusion here is that cycle tracks are modestly safer than the street, not wildly safer as you claim.

    Although the text of your article correctly refers to the bicycle facilities in the study as “separated bike lanes” the title calls them “bike lanes”. The study facilities were not on-street bike lanes, but completely separated cycle tracks in Montreal. Most of what’s proposed in the Dallas Bike Plan are bike lanes, very few cycle tracks are proposed.

    There is compelling evidence that bicycle infrastructure (including bike lanes and cycle tracks) increases the number of people riding bikes. This is the main reason why people wanting healthier, more-livable urban environments should support them. Telling people they are 28 times safer in a bike lane than in the street is not being honest.

  3. Thanks for the clarification, Marc!

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