Where do bike lanes work best? A Bayesian spatial model of bicycle lanes and bicycle crashes

Michelle C. Kondo, Christopher Morrison, Erick Guerra, Elinore J. Kaufman, Douglas J. Wiebe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


US municipalities are increasingly introducing bicycle lanes to promote bicycle use, increase roadway safety and improve public health. The aim of this study was to identify specific locations where bicycle lanes, if created, could most effectively reduce crash rates. Previous research has found that bike lanes reduce crash incidence, but a lack of comprehensive bicycle traffic flow data has limited researchers’ ability to assess relationships at high spatial resolution. We used Bayesian conditional autoregressive logit models to relate the odds that a bicycle injury crash occurred on a street segment in Philadelphia, PA (n = 37,673) between 2011 and 2014 to characteristics of the street and adjacent intersections. Statistical models included interaction terms to address the problem of unknown bicycle traffic flows, and found bicycle lanes were associated with reduced crash odds of 48% in streets segments adjacent to 4-exit intersections, of 40% in streets with one- or two-way stop intersections, and of 43% in high traffic volume streets. Presence of bicycle lanes was not associated with change in crash odds at intersections with less or more than 4 exits, at 4-way stop and signalized intersections, on one-way streets and streets with trolley tracks, and on streets with low-moderate traffic volume. The effectiveness of bicycle lanes appears to depend most on the configuration of the adjacent intersections and on the volume of vehicular traffic. Our approach can be used to predict specific street segments on which the greatest absolute reduction in bicycle crash odds could occur by installing new bicycle lanes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)225-233
Number of pages9
JournalSafety Science
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2018

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