Credit: Unsplash/CC0 Public Domain Is cycling safe? If we are talking about cycling in general, which would apply to all populations—fit/less-fit men and women, children, seniors and parents with children on their bicycles—then no, cycling is not safe.
Bicyclists face risks posed by exposure to air pollution, unannounced e-bike riders passing fast, and car doors. But the greatest safety risk is not pollution, a faster bike, or even that car door. It’s moving vehicles.
A 2015 study I worked on with colleagues suggested that vehicle/bicycle crash risk in the U.S. is even greater than publicized because of inadequate records in police reports.
The risk exists even as biking offers a range of health and environmental benefits, including a lowered risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Bicycling also lowers the risk of obesity, cancer, premature death , and cardiovascular disease while addressing climate change through reduction in pollution.
We could make our world safer if we improved bike infrastructure. For decades, as cities have grown and cars have become faster, engineers and city planners have failed to take necessary steps to make safe cycling networks—in part because of gender differences.
Beginning with the first bike infrastructure designs written in the mid 1970s , male engineers working off the principles later described by John Forester in his 1976 book "Effective Cycling"—i.e., cyclists fare best when they act and are treated as drivers of vehicles—failed to take into consideration female cyclists’ desire to be separated from traffic . Instead, women were to enroll in classes taught by certified […]
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