Trade-Offs in Crash Risk: A Safety Comparison of Bidirectional Bicycle Facilities

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Trade-Offs in Crash Risk: A Safety Comparison of Bidirectional Bicycle Facilities

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2024-05-01

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This research examines the safety outcomes for cyclists on bidirectional bicycle facilities relative to other varieties of cycling facilities in Hennepin County, Minnesota. Using crash data for collisions involving both motor vehicles and bicycles, we determined bicycle facilities consisting only of painted lanes pose the highest risk to cyclists by a significant margin, followed by bidirectional facilities separated from motor vehicle traffic by plastic bollards. Unidirectional bicycle facilities separated by either plastic bollards or curbs and bidirectional facilities separated by curbs were found to pose lower and similar levels of risk to cyclists. Additionally, a majority of crashes occurred in intersections, demonstrating the need for carefully planned crash mitigation strategies on a case-by-case basis. Our findings indicate that when future bicycle facilities are constructed in Hennepin County, unidirectional facilities should be selected over bidirectional whenever possible, and in either case, curb separation should be provided whenever feasible, especially for bidirectional facilities.

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