Comment 38574

By Are bike lanes a good idea? (anonymous) | Posted March 03, 2010 at 20:52:06

bike lanes, this is a quote from this study...

http://www.vtpi.org/puchertq.pdf

"From 1975 to 1998, the total number of pedestrian fatalities fell by 72% in The Netherlands and by 79% in Germany, compared to a
decline of only 31% in the United States"

That is impressive.

If you read further, however, you will realize that both Germany and the Netherlands have introduced many more safety measures than just bike lanes or bike tracks. It would seem they have changed their entire focus on transportation infrastructure away from cars in favour of pedestrians and cyclists. It would also appear that their dedication to the safety of cyclists and pedestrians has worked.

However, the authors of the study also say this...

"Data limitations make it impossible to undertake rigorous statistical analysis to isolate the impact each measure has had
on safety improvements."

In other words, they can't say for sure whether or not bike lanes has improved safety for cyclists, or whether it has been the result of other measures, such as traffic calming or pedestrian zones.

I will grant you this, if you want Hamilton to embark on a similar regime that they have undertaken in Germany and the Netherlands, including traffic calming and placing the focus on bikes and pedestrians and not just adding bike lanes, then you have a strong case for reducing fatalities.

However, are you confident, knowing the results from Denmark, that simply adding bike lanes will result in the reductions found in this study? Without the introduction of the other safety measures, it's quite possible that injuries and accidents increase when bike lanes are increased.

Another quote from the study you provided...

"Generally, traffic calming gives pedestrians, bicyclists, and playing children as much right to use residential streets as motor vehicles; indeed, motor vehicles are required to yield to these other users."

What are the chances of this happening here in Hamilton? Don't get me wrong, I think it would be a refreshing change, but it will require a lot of passion to change people's minds.

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