Road Safety News

Cycle Superhighways have ‘no significant impact’ on collision rates

Friday 10th March 2017

A new report has found that the introduction of Cycle Superhighways in London has had no significant impact on collision rates, and concludes that Cycle Superhighways are ‘no more dangerous, or safer’ than other roads.

Published in November 2016, the Centre for Transport Studies (Imperial College London) report evaluates the effects of the London Cycle Superhighways on cycle collisions. A total of 45 Cycle Superhighways segments and 375 control segments were observed for a period of eight years.

The report found that routes with a large proportion of segregated lanes, most notably CS3, were more effective in protecting cyclists. It recommends that consistent safety designs should be applied on all Cycle Superhighways.

Variables such as road characteristics, crash history and socio-economic information are included in the data set, while traffic characteristics including volume, cycle volume and traffic speed were obtained from the DfT.

While the report found that the increase in cycle traffic was associated with a rise in annual cycle collisions, when the effects were re-estimated based on cycle collision rates, rather than levels, the results show that the Cycle Superhighways are no more dangerous, or safer, than the control roads.

FOOTNOTE: readers can request a copy of the report by following the link in the story above.

Photo: TfL (via Flickr)

Want to know more about cycling and road safety? 
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Unfortunately Charles, the damage has been done. So much of what could – and once was, shared space, is no more. The results are less access for service vehicles, greater congestion for a given volume of traffic, greater cost in transportation, and the belief that one or more forms of road traffic must be given preferential treatment over all others.

My request for the report has been answered, and I have read the 41 page pdf. It is interesting to note that much is made of causal models, estimates, and equations. The collisions referred to are not quantified, but we are left to presume they are with other traffic, as they are gleaned from stats19 forms, and collisions between cyclists with other cyclists are ‘unlikely’ to feature. Worth asking for a copy.
Derek Reynolds, Salop.

Agree (3) | Disagree (5)

Has anyone carried out any grip tests in the wet for the blue surfaces on London's Cycle Superhighways? Tyres don't normally like coloured road surfaces in the wet, especially if they are paint based.
Guzzi, Newport

Agree (5) | Disagree (0)

So hard segregation is safer than painted lines and painted lines deliver no more benefit than no lines. OK, so given that the typical space restrictions in city centres rule out hard segregation (on the grounds that the economy relies on other traffic having freedom of movement too) then it must be time to try something else. What about the elephant in the room, something tried and tested, something that eliminates casualties *and* reduces congestion - Shared Space?
Charles, England

Agree (4) | Disagree (14)

With an embargo on this report held until November 2017, there must be more to it than meets they cursory eye. I have requested a copy.

Whatever the report may claim, the most obvious effects of segregated lanes is that they reduce the capacity of roads to carry given volumes of all other traffic, further compounding the problems of congestion. Safe cycling comes mostly from self education and being aware of the needs of all other road users. No-one would condone super highways within central London for motorised traffic, the road network that existed prior to 1980 has been reduced in its capacity to cope with volumes by and with: segregation; turning restrictions; pedestrianisation; increases in automatic traffic signalling; 'four way' light phasing and more besides.

It benefits all to repeat ad nauseum that road safety is an attitude of mind that requires tuition. It is not a set of physical restraints, lanes, or kerbstones. Protectionism defeats the objective.
Derek Reynolds, Salop.

Agree (8) | Disagree (14)

Does that include cycle-on-cycle collisions? If you look at the "cycling weekly" website it seems CS3 has issues with collisions between slower and faster cyclists without any motorised vehicle involved. Does that tell us something about cyclists safety discipline and attitudes to signalling or cycle lane design or possibly both?
Pat, Wales

Agree (11) | Disagree (4)

Collision rates with what? Surely there has to be less collisions with lorries and cars, in which case the benefits are obvious and either the study' or article is seriously flawed.

Agree (8) | Disagree (3)

Given the time period of this study, I suspect that the conclusion relates primarily to those "superhighways" that consist merely of blue paint on the road. Is that correct? If so, could you make that clear in the story, as it could be misinterpreted at the moment.
Grahame Cooper. Bolton, Lancs.

Agree (18) | Disagree (2)

The important part:
"The report found that routes with a large proportion of segregated lanes, most notably CS3, were more effective in protecting cyclists. It recommends that consistent safety designs should be applied on all Cycle Superhighways."

Basically, the 'Paint in the road' cycle highways are just that, paint on a road, they have no impact on accident rates, where as actual real segregate lanes do.

This headline is misleading and will be used by the anti-cycle lobby as ammunition to campaign against their construction.
Chad, London

Agree (30) | Disagree (2)

And I wonder how much they all cost, and for no benefit whatsoever. Are we seeing a trend here?
Charles, England

Agree (12) | Disagree (27)