News article

SWOV-report: Safety enhancing features of cycling infrastructure

SWOV has conducted a review on different aspects of cycling infrastructure and their contribution to the risk of bicycle crashes. Dutch and international studies are reviewed that address a bicycle crash risk indicator as an outcome measure, thereby controlling for differences in cyclist flow. Controlling for cyclist flow is crucial for valid interpretation of the safety levels of infrastructure elements or designs. This requirement limits the number of relevant studies, because in many studies cycling flow is unknown and only crash frequency (not crash risk) is reported. 

A distinction is made between findings from Dutch studies and international studies. This was considered necessary because of the ‘advanced’ cycling culture and infrastructure facilities for cyclists in the Netherlands. In some instances, it appears that this distinction results in different outcomes. 

The conclusions of this review focus on the safety enhancing features of the cycling infrastructure that are to some extent evidence-based, followed by the features about which we still have no evidence. The evidence for infrastructure features that affect safety is generally based on a limited number of studies, conducted on specific locations in different geographical settings. This implies that the results may not be interpreted as valid for every specific location, because local circumstances may differ from those included in the studies. 

The infrastructural elements that were included in the review were: urban versus rural areas, network route choice, routes, road sections, intersections, roundabouts.