For years now, transportation engineers and advocates of bike infrastructure have debated whether cyclists fare more safely on major streets or in bike lanes. Badger explains that, based on the "vehicular cycling" concept popularized 40 years ago, the former believes that "you're actually better off learning to ride alongside cars than having your own bike lane," but the latter argues that this way of thinking is counterintuitive.
The findings of a new study published in the American Journal of Public Health on cyclist injuries shows that "infrastructure really matters," writes Badger. "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. 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."