Cycling in Cities – University of British Columbia

Cycling in Cities is a research program investigating factors that encourage or discourage bicycling, transportation infrastructure associated with increased or decreased risks of cycling injuries, and air pollution and cycling. Based at the University of British Columbia School of Population & Public Health, it has many partners including researchers from Simon Fraser University, Ryerson University, the Universities of Montreal, Toronto and Victoria, cycling planners, and cycling advocates.

Cycling in Cities has published in four areas related to cycling safety and each is described in lay terms in one or two pages on their website, with links to our scientific articles, reports, brochures and presentations about the research. Here is a brief description of each of the four areas:

  1. Injury risk by mode of travel. This work compares the risk of injury for different travel modes, including driving, walking and bicycling. Based on British Columbia, the study  compares injury and death rates to American, German, Dutch and Danish data.
  1. Bicycling injury risk and route infrastructure. Researchers conducted a large study in Toronto and Vancouver that examined which route types and other infrastructure features increased or decreased the risk of an injury requiring emergency department treatment. It found that certain route types were best to lower injury risk and encourage bicycling: on major streets, physically separated bike lanes, also known as cycle tracks; on quiet streets, bike routes with traffic diversion; and off-street, bike only paths. It also found that downhill slopes, streetcar and train tracks, construction, traffic circles and entering intersections in the direction opposite direction to expectation increased bicycling injury risk. Sub-analyses looked in more detail at crash circumstances and injury severity on different route types. These results provide guidance to planners, transportation engineers, public health professionals, and advocates about the best route designs to prevent bicycling crashes from occurring. There are 2 web pages summarizing this research:
  1. Evidence-based bicycling training. This study examined bicycling training materials (including driver training related to bicycling) from across Canada and compared them to evidence about what makes cycling safer and more dangerous. It was found that many principles covered in cycling education materials were supported by scientific evidence, but their were improvements that should be made. A gap in the educational materials was information to help cyclists plan their routes, including scientific evidence about the relative safety of different route types and conditions. In addition, evidence about what reduces motor vehicle passing distances was not included with education messages about where to cycle on the road. Here is the web page:
  1. Bicycling hospitalization rates across Canada. This study compared hospitalization rates for bicyclists aged 12+ across Canadian provinces given the percent of trips by bike, helmet laws, sex and age. Injury rates were lower for females than males, and traffic-related injury rates were lower with more cycling. Brain and head injury rates did not differ in provinces with and without helmet laws. This research suggests that policymakers interested in reducing bicycling injury rates should focus on factors related to more cycling and female cycling choices. Bicycling routes physically separated from traffic or along quiet streets are a promising fit for both and are associated with a lower risk of injury. Here is the web page:

Was this helpful to you?


Send us your comments about this article.