A new study led by Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) researchers shows bicycle riders have fewer injuries when they ride on cycle tracks — physically separated bicycle-exclusive paths along roads — than in the road. The study, published online Feb. 9, 2011 in Injury Prevention, compares injury rates of cyclists on cycle tracks in Montreal with bike injuries on streets in that city. Cycle tracks are popular in Montreal and the Netherlands, but not in the U.S.
“Bicycling is the best activity for health because it is routine and of high enough intensity, but we need safer and more comfortable bicycle routes. Our research in Montreal suggests that cycle tracks have 28 percent lower risk and 2.5 times more bicyclists compared to a road, yet the design guidelines in the U.S. discourage cycle tracks and favor bicycling in the road,” said lead author Anne Lusk, research associate in the Department of Nutrition at HSPH.
Researchers at the Université de Montréal, McGill University, Northeastern University and Brigham and Women’s Hospital collaborated on the study. Jack Dennerlein, senior lecturer on ergonomics and safety at HSPH, was senior author.