Study examines causes of severe bicycle-motor vehicle collisions

Researchers from the City of Edmonton Transportation Planning Branch have tackled the very serious question of which factors contribute to severe bicycle-motor vehicle collisions. The study considered 571 collisions that occurred between 2006 and 2009. The data was obtained from police reports. 424 of the studied collisions happened at intersections with the remaining 147 taking place midblock. Findings for these two types of collisions were different.

Collisions at intersections were more severe when all approaches were two-way and signalized or where partial crosswalks were present. Each of these types of intersections was more than twice as likely to result in a major collision as for other types of intersections. Where a bike sign was present this made severe collisions three times less likely.

Surprisingly midblock collisions were found to be much less likely to be severe on arterial roads compared to collector and local roads. This suggests that percieved safety and actual safety may not always correspond. Streets with parking on one or both sides were also found to greatly reduce the likelihood of severe collisions.

Abstract:

The City of Edmonton is developing a city-wide cycling network through the Complete Streets project (inclusively) and the On-Street Bike Route project (exclusively). The Complete Streets project develops new roadway design guidelines that consider a specific corridor’s function and users, and provides appropriate transportation infrastructure, including traffic lights, signage, and turning lanes. The On-Street Bike Route project designs and installs cycling infrastructure (facilities), including multiuse trails, bike lanes, and shared-use lanes. The present study aims to gain a better understanding of the factors contributing to severe bicycle-motor vehicle (BMV) collisions. The study investigates a total of 571 BMV collisions (424 intersection-related and 147 midblock-related BMV collisions) that occurred between 2006 and 2009 to provide a baseline understanding of Edmonton’s cycling safety concerns, prior to the installation of on-street cycling facilities. Spatial mixed logit models were fitted to the data. The categories of covariates included corridor design, human, temporal, and environmental factors. The results did not show any common factors contributing to BMV collision severity at intersections or midblock sections. Significant factors affecting the BMV intersection collision severity included the interaction between roadway and approach-control type, the existence of partial crosswalks and bike signs, and the cyclist’s gender and age. Alternatively, factors affecting the probability of BMV midblock collision severity included roadway classification, on-street parking allocations, and the driver’s age.

Reference:

Analyzing the severity of bicycle-motor vehicle collision using spatial mixed logit models: A city of edmonton case study
Klassen, Jeana (Transportation Planning Branch, The City of Edmonton, Edmonton, AB, Canada); El-Basyouny, Karim; Islam, Md. Tazul Source: Safety Science, v 62, p 295-304, February 2014

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