On-road bicycle lane types, roadway characteristics, and risks for bicycle crashes
Bicycle lanes reduce real and perceived risks for bicycle vs. motor vehicle crashes, reducing the burden of traffic injuries and contributing to greater cycling participation. Previous research indicates that the effectiveness of bicycle lanes differs according to roadway characteristics, and that bicycle lane types are differentially associated with reduced crash risks. The aim of this study is to combine these perspectives and identify the types of on-road bicycle lanes that are associated with the greatest reductions in bicycle crashes given the presence of specific roadway characteristics. We compiled a cross sectional spatial dataset consisting of 32,444 intersection polygons and 57,285 street segment polygons representing the roadway network for inner Melbourne, Australia. The dependent measure was a dichotomous indicator for any bicycle crash (2014–2017). Independent measures were bicycle lanes (exclusive bicycle lanes, shared bicycle and parking lanes, marked wide kerbside lanes, and kerbside bicycle lanes) and other roadway characteristics (speed limit, bus routes, tram routes, bridges, one-way flow, traffic lane width). In Bayesian conditional autoregressive logit models, bicycle lanes of all types were associated with decreased crash odds where speeds were greater, bus routes and tram stops were present, and traffic lanes were narrower. Only exclusive bicycle lanes were associated with reduced crash odds (compared to the expected odds given the presence of the bicycle lane and the roadway conditions) in all these setting. The extent to which on-road bicycle lanes reduce crash risks depends on the bicycle lane type, the roadway conditions, and the combination of these two factors. Bicycle lanes that provide greater separation between cyclists and vehicular traffic are most consistently protective.