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Bike lanes need physical protection from car traffic, study shows

Really! – that took how long to determine?….ars technica – Drivers left bikes less room in the presence of parked cars and painted bike lanes. ” There are plenty of good reasons that people should cycle more. People who exercise more are healthier and can score higher on cognitive tests, for one thing. And replacing short car trips with journeys by bike (or on foot) is probably a good thing if we want to try to deal with this whole climate change thing. But that will only work if people feel safe swapping their two-ton deathmobiles for a pair of pedals. And it may well mean providing cyclists with bike lanes protected from vehicle traffic with more than a coat of paint. In fact, a study from Monash University in Australia suggests that merely painting bike lanes onto the roads may be counterproductive.

…Across the entire data set, the researchers identified 18,527 instances where a vehicle overtook a cyclist. Of these, 1,085 happened with less than 39 inches’ (100cm) passing distance between bike and vehicle, a distance that’s considered “close” under Australian law. The majority of passes occurred in areas with 37mph speed limits (60km/h), with an average passing distance of 75 inches (190cm). But those distances were much closer in areas with lower limits (66 inches/168cm in 40km/h zones, 67 inches/170cm in 50km/h zones). Somewhat worryingly, drivers were also more likely to get closer (60 inches/154cm) to cyclists when passing in 100km/h (62mph) zones…”

See also via Outside – How We Talk About Drivers Hitting Cyclists – What the media gets wrong, and why, says a lot about how our society views vulnerable road users

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