Most individuals prefer bicycling separated from motor traffic. However, cycle tracks (physically separated bicycle-exclusive paths along roads, as found in The Netherlands) are discouraged in the USA by engineering guidance that suggests that facilities such as cycle tracks are more dangerous than the street. The objective of this study conducted in Montreal (with a longstanding network of cycle tracks) was to compare bicyclist injury rates on cycle tracks versus in the street. For six cycle tracks and comparable reference streets, vehicle/bicycle crashes and health record injury counts were obtained and use counts conducted. The relative risk (RR) of injury on cycle tracks, compared with reference streets, was determined. Overall, 2.5 times as many cyclists rode on cycle tracks compared with reference streets and there were 8.5 injuries and 10.5 crashes per million bicycle-kilometres. The RR of injury on cycle tracks was 0.72 (95% CI 0.60 to 0.85) compared with bicycling in reference streets. These data suggest that the injury risk of bicycling on cycle tracks is less than bicycling in streets. The construction of cycle tracks should not be discouraged.
- public health
- safe community
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Funding ACL was supported by a Ruth L Kirschstein National Research Service Award, F32 HL083639 from the National Institutes for Health, National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. LFM-M is supported for data collection by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (discovery grant – individual).
Competing interests None.
Ethics approval The Harvard School of Public Health IRB reviewed this protocol and found that approval was not required. The HSPH IRB made an exemption determination.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.