Risk Factors For Bicycle-Motor Vehicle Collisions at Intersections

Source: Journal of Safety Research

"In 1992, 722 bicyclists were killed in the United States in collisions with motor vehicles, and an estimated 650,000 people were treated in emergency rooms for bicycle-related injuries. It is remarkable that, for a traffic safety problem of this magnitude, so little research has been conducted to establish the causes of these accidents. Instead, design standards for roadways and bicycle facilities, individual project designs, and laws and policies regarding bicycling are based almost entirely on opinion. The quality of the results is highly variable. This paper reports a study of bicycle -motor vehicle collisions in the city of Palo Alto, California. The study compares personal characteristics and bicycling behavior-age, sex, direction of travel (with or against traffic flow), and position on the road (roadway or sidewalk) of bicyclists involved in accidents with similar data for the general population of bicyclists observed along the same streets. This comparison enables us to identify factors that are correlated with increased risk of bicycle -motor vehicle collisions, and to suggest engineering practices that reduce this risk."

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