|Is this cycle path dangerous?|
Remember the Dutch (Copenhagen) study I checked over last week? This week, I had a look at a German study about cycle infrastructure and safety. Headline is "Studie belegt steigende Unfallzahlen durch Radwege" and is quite attention-grabbing, possibly translating it to "Study proves increased accidents caused by cycle paths" gives you the flavour.
It appears to be a before-after comparison study somewhere (!) in Germany, published in 1991 looking at absolute totals only. I'd have thought given its advanced age, it would be dubious practice to use it to inform policy, yet it was quoted to me in support of "cycleways are dangerous" - so here it goes.
Really, it would be good to see the original study, in the absence of that, I make the following comments about the very limited data available. If anyone has the original I am happy to look at it.
- the number of users is not stated. Imagine cycling had increased (as it can be expected when cycle infrastructure is offered up), then the collision data should be presented in relative terms to that increase, ie would be relatively lower.
- the collision types are not categorised. This means that - dramatically put - loads of minor collisions (cuts and bruises) would count the same as a fatality. Without that distinction it's unequal accounting.
- It investigates cycle paths running parallel to the road/highway but we do not know further details on the paths themselves or the junction design. As we all know you really have to look at it in detail, even down to design dimensions, corner radii, road markings etc. Missing that info makes it more difficult to comment. [We are all be experts in the UK! Experts on what crap cycling infra really really looks like. And feels like. Aaargh.]
It's worrying that the website states that "this study unambiguously [eindeutig] proves that cycle paths have higher collisions rates compared to bike traffic on the road". This statement is clearly dramatising and polarising the debate unnecessarily, forgetting the wider view on the data and circumstances.
The title of my blogpost?
Well, the study is quoted on the adfc (German ctc) website - albeit a local branch of theirs - which makes me feel a tiny tad uneasy about their motives. I'd strongly advise the adfc branch to revise the webpage and tone it down, and possibly advise the national adfc to check up on the branches shenanigans.