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Edmonton blogger breaks down cycling by the numbers

Numbers show separated lanes safest for cyclists

Ross' works shows the painted bike lanes have very little effect on safety.

Metro File

Ross' works shows the painted bike lanes have very little effect on safety.

    Local blogger Michael Ross has crunched the numbers and came up with a conclusion you might have guessed; separated shared bike paths are the best way to keep cyclists safe.

Ross, who runs the popular blog Extreme Enginerding, found when he compared annual weekday traffic and bicycle injuries per kilometer on various lane types that separated shared paths was a safer way to travel than on road painted bike lanes.

“It’s very hard to say that the painted bike lanes provide any sort of safety to cyclists relative to non-bike lane streets,” said Ross. “When you compare it to separated bike paths those are much safer by a factor of two to a factor of six to normal roads.”

He admitted that painted bike lanes are less frequent so the analysis has a bit more variance to it. But Ross says if we’re going to look at further developing infrastructure it’s a safer way to go.

Ross used the analysis on cycling injuries done by Slow Streets which pinpointed where cyclist injuries and collisions with vehicles were most likely to occur. The Slow Streets data was based on vehicle collision information Paths for People advocated for the city to make public.

The debate over bike lanes has intensified over the summer and Ross says the open data available could help to create more informed conversation on the need for cycling infrastructure.

“There is a large lack of data for where cyclists themselves tend to be,” said Ross. Other cities have extensive studies on where cyclists are commuting to and from, and the roads they’re using.

“Right now all we can really do is speculate based on injuries, which is a sort of morbid way to go about it,” said Ross.

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