Making city streets safer for cycling


With funding from the National Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), Miranda-Moreno has worked with Montreal officials, as well as representatives from Quebec’s Département de la santé publique, to gather information about the ways cyclists use the Montreal streets, including its cycle tracks (physically separated bicycle exclusive paths along roads), throughout the year.

He also recently received an award from the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) to create a mobile safety laboratory to monitor non-motorized transportation. The lab will use a range of sensors to measure pedestrian, bicycle and motorized traffic, along with a GPS traffic-tracking system to collect data about the way that pedestrians and cyclists are currently using the streets. These data should result in important changes to the way researchers and planners work on road and safety design.

On another cycling front, Miranda-Moreno has collaborated with researchers elsewhere to produce work that, using Montreal as a case study, shows bicycle tracks are safer for cyclists than bicycling on city streets. Based on data gathered from the streets of Montreal from 2000-2008, the researchers were able to show that, despite beliefs held by public health and bicycling advocates in the United States, cycle tracks lessen, or at least do not increase, crash and injury rates compared with cycling on the streets.

Miranda-Moreno’s work is getting attention at both a national and international level. “Lots of cities are watching us because Montreal has an almost unique infrastructure for cycling, because of all the bicycle facilities and initiatives,” says Miranda-Moreno. “There are people in cities like Vancouver, Ottawa and San Francisco who’ve been in touch with me. They want to know about the advantages and disadvantages of the kind of cycle facilities that we have here.”

Results from the recent bicycling injury study are clear. In order to safeguard cyclists and reduce the number of injuries, the construction of cycle tracks should be encouraged.

For an abstract of the risk of bicycle injury paper:

Title of article: “Risk of injury for bicycling on cycle tracks versus in the street.” Anne C. Lusk, Peter G. Furth, Patrick Morency, Luis F. Miranda-Moreno, Walter C. Willett, and Jack T. Dennerlein.

Please let me know if you want me to email you a copy of the study.

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