There’s been some debate about whether or not the increasing number of bike lanes popping up in cities around the world – particularly in North America – is a good thing for all. In less dispute is the belief that separated bike infrastructure makes life safer for cyclists – something that is now backed up by Canadian research.

“The research, led by Prof. Kay Teschke of the University of British Columbia’s school of population and public health, involved interviewing hundreds of victims of bike accidents in Toronto and Vancouver, and then studying the location where the accident took place,” reads the Globe and Mail‘s analysis of the study, which has been published in the American Journal of Public Health.

And the journal is not the only notable American publication giving credence to the research that is considered to be one of the most extensive studies ever on separated bike lanes.

“Your chance of injury drops by about 50 percent, relative to that major city street, when riding on a similar road with a bike lane and no parked cars,” reads a recent post in the popular the Atlantic Cities. “The same improvement occurs on bike paths and local streets with designated bike routes. And protected bike lanes – with actual barriers separating cyclists from traffic – really make a difference. The risk of injury drops for riders there by 90 percent.”

Both the Globe and Mail and the Atlantic Cities note the study could bolster the argument of bike lane advocates, who for years have butted heads with skeptical transportation engineers who say cyclists are better off learning to ride alongside cars than they are having their own lanes.

The UBC study interviewed 690 people who were injured in bike accidents over an 18-month period between the summer of 2008 and fall of 2009 – 414 from Vancouver and 276 from Toronto.

An argument for separated bike lanes and perhaps even SkyCycles

But we’d still like to hear from you: Are you for separated bike lanes or against? Weigh-in on the ongoing discussion here.

For more on the study, check out the details in the American Journal of Public Health here, the Globe’s story here and/or the Atlantic Cities is article here.

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