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Fishman E.,University Utrecht | Fishman E.,Institute for Sensible Transport | Schepers P.,University Utrecht
Journal of Safety Research | Year: 2016

Introduction Bike share has emerged as a rapidly growing mode of transport in over 800 cities globally, up from just a handful in the 1990s. Some analysts had forecast a rise in the number of bicycle crashes after the introduction of bike share, but empirical research on bike share safety is rare. The goal of this study is to examine the impact of bike share programs on cycling safety. Methods The paper has two substudies. Study 1 was a secondary analysis of longitudinal hospital injury data from the Graves et al. (2014) study. It compared cycling safety in cities that introduced bike share programs with cities that did not. Study 2 combined ridership data with crash data of selected North American and European cities to compare bike share users to other cyclists. Results Study 1 indicated that the introduction of a bike share system was associated with a reduction in cycling injury risk. Study 2 found that bike share users were less likely than other cyclists to sustain fatal or severe injuries. Conclusions On a per kilometer basis, bike share is associated with decreased risk of both fatal and non-fatal bicycle crashes when compared to private bike riding. Practical Applications The results of this study suggest that concerns of decreased levels of cycling safety are unjustified and should not prevent decision makers from introducing public bike share schemes, especially if combined with other safety measures like traffic calming. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd and National Safety Council. Source

Fishman E.,University Utrecht | Fishman E.,Institute for Sensible Transport | Schepers P.,University Utrecht | Kamphuis C.B.M.,University Utrecht
American Journal of Public Health | Year: 2015

The Netherlands is well known for their high bicycle use. We used the Health Economic Assessment Tool and life table calculations to quantify the population-level health benefits from Dutch cycling levels. Cycling prevents about 6500 deaths each year, and Dutch people have half-a-year-longer life expectancy because of cycling. These health benefits correspond to more than 3% of the Dutch gross domestic product. Our study confirmed that investments in bicycle-promoting policies (e.g., improved bicycle infrastructure and facilities) will likely yield a high cost-benefit ratio in the long term. © 2015, American Public Health Association Inc. All rights reserved. Source

Methorst R.,Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment | Schepers P.,University Utrecht | Fishman E.,Institute for Sensible Transport
Accident Analysis and Prevention | Year: 2016

Many studies have found bicycle-motor vehicle crashes to be more likely on bidirectional cycle paths than on unidirectional cycle paths because drivers do not expect cyclists riding at the right side of the road. In this paper we discuss the hypothesis that opening all unidirectional cycle paths for cycle traffic in both directions prevent this lack of expectancy and accordingly improves cycling safety. A new national standard requires careful consideration because a reversal is difficult once cyclists are used to their new freedom of route choice. We therefore explored the hypothesis using available data, research, and theories. The results show that of the length of cycle paths along distributor roads in the Netherlands, 72% is bidirectional. If drivers would become used to cyclists riding at the left side of the road, this result raises the question of why bidirectional cycle paths in the Netherlands still have a poor safety record compared to unidirectional cycle paths. Moreover, our exploration suggested that bidirectional cycle paths have additional safety problems. It increases the complexity of unsignalized intersections because drivers have to scan more directions in a short period of time. Moreover, there are some indications that the likelihood of frontal crashes between cyclists increases. We reject the hypothesis that opening all unidirectional cycle paths for cycle traffic in both directions will improve cycle safety. We recommend more attention for mitigating measures given the widespread application of bidirectional cycle paths in the Netherlands. © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. Source

Fishman E.,Institute for Sensible Transport | Washington S.,Queensland University of Technology | Haworth N.,Queensland University of Technology
Journal of Transport and Health | Year: 2015

Over 800 cities globally now offer bikeshare programs. One of their purported benefits is increased physical activity. Implicit in this claim is that bikeshare replaces sedentary modes of transport, particularly car use. This paper estimates the median changes in physical activity levels as a result of bikeshare in the cities of Melbourne, Brisbane, Washington, D.C., London, and Minneapolis/St. Paul. This study is the first known multi-city evaluation of the active travel impacts of bikeshare programs. To perform the analysis, data on mode substitution (i.e. the modes that bikeshare replaces) were used to determine the extent of shift from sedentary to active transport modes (e.g. when a car trip is replaced by bikeshare). Potentially offsetting these gains, reductions in physical activity when walking trips are replaced by bikeshare was also estimated. Finally a Markov Chain Monte Carlo analysis was conducted to estimate confidence bounds on estimated impacts on active travel given uncertainties in data sources. The results indicate that on average 60% of bikeshare trips replace sedentary modes of transport (from 42% in Minneapolis/St. Paul to 67% in Brisbane). When bikeshare replaces a walking trip, there is a reduction in active travel time because walking a given distance takes longer than cycling. Considering the active travel balance sheet for the cities included in this analysis, bikeshare activity in 2012 has an overall positive impact on active travel time. This impact ranges from an additional 1.4 million minutes of active travel for the Minneapolis/St. Paul bikeshare program, to just over 74 million minutes of active travel for the London program The analytical approach adopted to estimate bikeshare's impact on active travel may act as the basis for future bikeshare evaluations or feasibility studies. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. Source

Schepers P.,University Utrecht | Fishman E.,University Utrecht | Fishman E.,Institute for Sensible Transport | Beelen R.,University Utrecht | And 3 more authors.
Journal of Transport and Health | Year: 2015

Objective: Guidelines for bicycle infrastructure design tend to consider safety issues but not wider health issues. This paper explores the overall health impact of bicycle infrastructure provision, including not just road safety impacts, but also the population health impacts stemming from physical activity as well as cyclists' exposure to air pollution. Data and methods: We have summarised key publications on how bicycle paths and lanes affect cyclists' exposure to physical activity, air pollution, and road safety. The health impact is modelled using all-cause mortality as a metric for a scenario with new bicycle lanes and paths in a hypothetical city. Results: The outcomes of the study suggest that, based on currently available research, a reduction of all-cause mortality is to be expected from building bicycle lanes and paths along busy roads with mixed traffic. Increased physical activity through more time spent cycling is the major contribution, but is also the most uncertain aspect. Effects related to air pollution and cycling safety are likely to reduce mortality but are small. The overall benefits are large enough to achieve a high benefit-cost ratio for bicycle infrastructure. Conclusions: The introduction of bicycle paths and lanes is likely to be associated with health benefits, primarily due to increased physical activity. More research is needed to estimate the absolute size of the health benefits. In particular, evaluations of the effects of bicycle infrastructure on time spent cycling are limited or of insufficient quality to infer causality. We recommend before-after studies measuring the effects of different interventions and in areas representing a wide range of base levels of cycling participation. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. Source

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