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Infrastructure for safe future cycling

The demographic change, increased use of pedelecs and an increasing share of cycling traffic on total traffic in cities are current changes in cycling traffic. This affects especially cycling traffic volumes, age-structure of cyclists and cycling speeds. In the future, more heterogeneous cycling speeds are expected in urban traffic.

The impact of these changes on cycling safety and possible requirements for a safe cycling infrastructure, appropriate traffic rules and traffic education were not sufficiently researched yet. Therefore, the German Insurers Accident Research (UDV) commissioned a respective study. As a result, recommendations for a safe future design of cycling infrastructure were developed.

Changes in accident numbers an types

The raising numbers of elderly cyclists in the future will result in an increasing number of driving accidents at segments as well as turning-into-/ crossing accidents at intersections. Higher cycling speeds and the general increase of cycling traffic will furthermore result in a growing number of accidents in longitudinal traffic and accidents with parking vehicles at segments.

Requirements on future cycling infrastructure

Generally, all common cycling facilities like mixed traffic, cycle lanes, cycle paths and advisory lanes are suitable in the future. Especially cycling facilities in accordance with the German guidelines showed to be safe cycling facilities also at high cycling traffic volume conditions.

In order to ensure a safe future cycling infrastructure the UDV recommends the following:

  • Adequate dimensioning of bicycle facilities must be ensured especially with regard to higher cycling speeds and the general increase of cycling traffic

  • Adequate clearances between cycle lanes and parking slots are required

  • Concerning their low accident rates, cycle boulevards should be implemented as an alternative to common traffic roads if suitable within the road network.

  • At intersections with a high amount of turning-off accidents conflict-free signal controlling should be implemented to handle the increase of turning-off accidents.

  • Cyclists driving at high speeds, like young cyclists and users of pedelecs, should be made aware of the associated risks.