Slowing down traffic, particularly at intersections, is identified as having the biggest likely impact on reducing cycling casualties with vehicle collisions, and also points out that this would also reduce casualties for all road users. Suggested methods of achieving this include physical traffic calming, redesigning urban streets in both their appearance and the way they are designed to be used by pedestrians and the wider use of 20mph speed limits.
However it is what the report has to say about other aspects of Britain's cycling infrastructure that will give food for thought to all sides in the debate on how best to provide the right environment for cycling in Britain and around the world. According to the report's authors there is little evidence for the safety benefits of cycle lanes, or advanced stop lines; and while segregated cycle lanes can offer greater safety to cyclists the points at which they connect with the road network can be so dangerous that they negate the safety benefit of segregation.
- ASL - limited data, but limited evidence of benefit particularly associated with junctions. Notwithstanding this lack of evidence, ASLs may provide a priority for cyclists and might be applicable where there are heavy flows of right-turning cyclists.
- Cycle lanes - There is little evidence in the UK that marked cycle lanes provide a safety benefit, although they may achieve other objectives. This lack of evident benefit may, however, represent a lack of quality and continuity in implementation. There is also extremely limited experimentation with, and no reported studies of, kerbed cycle lanes in the UK.
- Segregated Cycle lanes – Providing segregated networks may reduce risk to cyclists in general, although evidence suggests that the points at which segregated networks intersect with highways can be relatively high-risk, sometimes of sufficient magnitude to offset any safety benefits of removing cyclists from the carriageway. However may be applicable particularly in rural settings.
Interestingly while the report can seemingly find evidence for the safety benefits for cycle lanes in other European countries it finds little evidence for their effectiveness in Britain - as the report notes "a lack of quality" may be a factor in that. Perhaps Britain's best know network of urban cycle lanes London's Barclays Cycle Superhighways is currently the focus of much criticism with poor implementation and the failure to heed safety advice.
The report also has interesting things to say about the design and implementation of both traffic calming measures and cycling infrastructure. While the authors say that traffic calming in general is beneficial to cyclists, they also advise road designers to be aware that features such as road narrowing and speed bumps have the potential for creating additional conflict between cyclists and other road users. Those designing infrastructure for cyclists also need to ensure that it meets cyclists needs otherwise warns the report it risks making a problem worse not better.
The report can be downloaded from here on the Department for Transport website.