Bicycling and Cycling Safety
- LAST REVIEWED: 15 December 2016
- LAST MODIFIED: 30 January 2014
- DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199756797-0092
- LAST REVIEWED: 15 December 2016
- LAST MODIFIED: 30 January 2014
- DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199756797-0092
The topic of bicycle safety has been treated differently in the United States than in other Western countries and less motorized countries. In the western European countries, where bicycling for transportation has been popular for decades, safety has also been a primary concern, with an emphasis on creating a safe environment for cyclists. In more auto-dominant countries like the United States and the Commonwealth countries, however, land use patterns designed to facilitate automobile travel have led to generally unsafe and unpleasant environments for utilitarian cycling. Instead of examining the role of motor vehicles and roadway design in perpetuating the danger, there has tended to be a focus more on the danger of cycling itself—and cycling has, until recently, been left as an aside to transportation planning. Recently, given the public health, fiscal, and environmental benefits of bicycling, it has been enjoying increased popularity in many countries around the world, and with this increased popularity has come a renewed focus on safety. In less motorized countries, cycling remains popular; however, with the recent growth of private vehicle ownership, safety concerns have arisen. This bibliography outlines many of the research studies on the various aspects of bicycling safety. Works were selected after conducting searches for the terms “(bi)cycle/ing safety,” “(bi)cycle/ing risk,” “(bi)cycle/ing injury(ies),” “bicycle helmets,” “(bi)cyclist visibility,” and “(bi)cycle/ing facilities,” using Google Scholar™, PubMed™, and the Transportation Research Board Bicycle Committee’s Bicycle Research Database, in addition to the authors’ own exposure to works presented and cited at public health and transportation conferences. Selections were generally limited to peer-reviewed studies in reputable journals in the fields of transportation, public health, and medicine, among others, and reports from well-known organizations in these fields; however, a few non-peer-reviewed sources are included for emerging areas of research. In general, the authors have attempted to describe results, as well as limitations to the works selected. While seminal works from earlier decades are included, the focus of this review is on recent literature, in order to most accurately include current information and thinking about cycling safety. The review attempts to include a range of perspectives on the many facets of bicycle safety, but it does not intend or claim to be comprehensive; indeed, it is intended as a starting point for readers interested in bicycling safety, and the authors hope that exploration of the sources included here will lead to additional exploration through the reference lists of these texts. Readers will be able to use this outline to access sources on the nature of bicycle crashes, such as injuries and the severities of crash types; populations involved in bicycle crashes; factors contributing to bicycle crashes; the role of infrastructure in encouraging or detracting from bicycle safety; the relationship between objective and subjective bicycle safety; protective cycling equipment; and efforts to mitigate bicycle crashes.
The works in this section provide a thorough look at the various aspects of bicycling safety. There is no authoritative text on bicycling safety, given that it has tended to be discussed and studied less than the safety of other transportation modes. However, anyone looking for a brief overview of bicycling safety would do well to start with these sources. Toroyan, et al. 2009, published by the World Health Organization, gives an international perspective on bicycling safety, with a look at less motorized countries. Krizek, et al. 2009 presents a thorough report on bicycling research from around the globe, including the effects of policies, studies on bicycle safety and specific facilities, and research on larger issues of preferences, land use, and urban design. Swanson and Milne 2012, the biennial Bicycling and Walking in the United States Benchmarking Report issued by the Alliance for Biking & Walking, is an outstanding source of information about bicycling safety, policies, funding, advocacy efforts, benefits, mode share data, and more for the fifty United States. The 15-year status update of the National Bicycling and Walking Study (Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center 2010) reports on progress toward the original 1994 study’s goals in the United States. Jacobsen and Rutter 2012, the chapter on Cycling Safety in City Cycling (based in part on a literature review, Jacobsen, et al. 2009, cited under Macrotrends in Cycling Risk) presents a higher-level view of issues regarding cycling safety and how they fit with other aspects of bicycling, such as its contribution to public health and environmental goals. Cleven and Blomberg 2007, the NHTSA Compendium gives an overview of nearly forty years of research conducted by the Office of Behavioral Safety Research. The web page of the Bicycle Transportation Research Subcommittee of the Transportation Research Board contains a downloadable database of bicycling research, while the website of the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center contains a breadth of information about bicycling in general as well as bicycling safety.
The TRB Bicycle Research Subcommittee is a clearinghouse for new research on bicycling and bicycling safety. Research submitted to the subcommittee is considered for presentation and publication at the annual TRB conference. Included on the web page is a downloadable database of bicycling research.
Cleven, A. M., and R. D. Blomberg. 2007. A compendium of NHTSA pedestrian and bicyclist research projects: 1969–2007. Washington, DC: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Nearly forty years of bicycling and walking research by the Office of Behavioral Safety Research is summarized in this compendium. The review presents the office’s research philosophy and covers studies on behavior, traffic engineering, education, enforcement, and policy.
Jacobsen, P. L., and H. Rutter. 2012. Cycling safety. In City cycling. Edited by J. Pucher and R. Buehler, 141–156. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
This book chapter covers aspects of cycling safety ranging from the inherent risk of mixing with automobiles in poorly designed urban areas, to risk factor characteristics, to the role of helmets in both potentially protecting heads and perpetuating a culture of fear about bicycling.
Krizek, K. J., A. Forsyth, and L. Baum. 2009. Walking and cycling international literature review: Final report. Melbourne, Australia: Victoria Department of Transport.
This literature review provides a comprehensive look at bicycling research from around the world, including policy effects, cycling safety, specific bicycling facilities, bicycle sharing, and larger issues of preferences, urban design, and land use. The report concludes with key takeaways and avenues for future research.
The website of the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center contains a wealth of information about basic bicycling facts, crash statistics, policies, efforts toward education, enforcement, and engineering. The site also has a link to the Pedestrian and Bicycle Crash Analysis Tool (PBCAT), a crash-typing software.
Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center. 2010. The National Bicycling and Walking Study: 15-year status report. Washington, DC: Federal Highway Administration.
The 15-Year Status Report follows the five- and ten-year status reports in assessing the progress the United States has made toward the original goals of the National Bicycling and Walking Study. The evaluation includes funding, mode share, safety, encouragement efforts, and plans and policies.
Swanson, K., and A. Milne. 2012. Bicycling and walking in the United States: 2012 benchmarking report. Washington, DC: Alliance for Biking & Walking.
The Benchmarking Report is published every two years and contains information about bicycling and walking safety, policies, funding, share of trips, benefits, advocacy efforts, and demographic information of bicyclists and pedestrians for all fifty states.
Toroyan, T., M. M. Peden, K. Laych, et al. 2009. Global status report on road safety: Time for action. Geneva, Switzerland: World Health Organization.
This report covers roadway safety and related topics, such as policy, traffic calming, and enforcement in 178 countries, and it provides a benchmark against which the countries can measure themselves. Readers should note that there is serious concern about underreporting of pedestrian and bicycle risk worldwide, particularly in developing countries.
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content on this page. Please subscribe or login.
How to Subscribe
Oxford Bibliographies Online is available by subscription and perpetual access to institutions. For more information or to contact an Oxford Sales Representative click here.
- Access to Health Care
- Action Research
- Active Aging
- Active Living
- Adolescent Risk-Taking Behavior in the United States
- Advocacy, Public Health
- Agricultural Safety and Public Health
- Air Quality: Health Effects
- Air Quality: Indoor Health Effects
- Alcohol Availability and Violence
- Alternative Research Designs
- Ambient Air Quality Standards and Guidelines
- American Perspectives on Chronic Disease and Control
- Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR)
- Asthma in Children
- Attachment as a Health Determinant
- Behavior Change Theory in Health Education and Promotion
- Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance
- Bicycling and Cycling Safety
- Birth and Death Registration
- Birth Cohort Studies
- Board of Health
- Built Environment and Health, The
- Business and Corporate Practices
- Cancer Communication Strategies in North America
- Cancer Prevention
- Cancer Screening
- Capacity Building
- Capacity Building for NCDs in LMICs
- Capacity-Building for Applied Public Health in LMIC: A US ...
- Cardiovascular Health and Disease
- Child Maltreatment
- Children, Air Pollution and
- Children, Injury Risk-Taking Behaviors in
- Children, Obesity in
- Citizen Advisory Boards
- Climate Change and Human Health
- Climate Change: Institutional Response
- Clinical Preventive Medicine
- Community Air Pollution
- Community Development
- Community Gardens
- Community Health Assessment
- Community Partnerships and Coalitions
- Community-Based Participatory Research
- Complexity and Systems Theory
- Culture and Public Health
- Definition of Health
- Dental Public Health
- Design and Health
- Dietary Guidelines
- Ecological Approaches
- Enabling Factors
- Environmental Laws
- Environmental Protection Agency
- Ethics of Public Health
- Evidence-Based Public Health Practice
- Family Planning Services and Birth Control
- Food Safety
- Food Security and Food Banks
- Food Systems
- Frail Elderly
- Functional Literacy
- Genomics, Public Health
- Geographic Information Systems
- Geography and Health
- Global Health
- Global Health Diplomacy
- Global Health Promotion
- Guide to Community Preventive Services, The
- Health Administration
- Health Communication
- Health Disparities
- Health Education
- Health Impact Assessment
- Health in All Policies
- Health in All Policies in European Countries
- Health Literacy
- Health Literacy and Non-Communicable Diseases
- Health Measurement Scales
- Health Planning
- Health Promoting Hospitals
- Health Promotion
- Health Promotion Foundations
- Health Promotion Workforce Capacity
- Health Promotion Workforce Capacity
- Healthy People Initiative
- Hepatitis C
- High Risk Prevention Strategies
- Human Rights, Health and
- Immigrant Populations
- Immunization and Pneumococcal Infection
- Indigenous Peoples, Public Health and
- Indigenous Populations of North America, Australasia, and ...
- Indoor Air Quality Guidelines
- Internet Applications in Promoting Health Behavior
- Intersectoral Strategies in Low - Middle Income Countries ...
- Justice, Social
- Knowledge Translation and Exchange
- Knowledge Utilization and Exchange
- Law of Public Health in the United States
- Media Advocacy
- Mental Health
- Mental Health Promotion
- Migrant Health
- Motor Vehicle Injury Prevention
- Multi-Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis
- National Association of Local Boards of Health
- National Public Health Institutions
- Needs Assessment
- Obesity Prevention
- Occupational Cancers
- Occupational Exposure to Benzene
- Occupational Exposure to Erionite
- Occupational Safety and Health
- Oral Health Equity for Minority Populations in the United ...
- Ottawa Charter
- Parenting and Work
- Parenting Skills and Capacity
- Participatory Action Research
- Patient Decision Making
- Pesticide Exposure and Pesticide Health Effects
- Physical Activity and Exercise
- Physical Activity Promotion
- Polio Eradication in Pakistan
- Population Aging
- Population Determinants of Unhealthy Foods and Beverages
- Population Health Objectives and Targets
- Precautionary Principle
- Prenatal Health
- Program Evaluation in American Health Education
- Program Planning and Evaluation
- Public Health, History of
- Public Health Surveillance
- Public-Private Partnerships in Public Health Research and ...
- Public-Private Partnerships to Prevent and Manage Obesity ...
- Quantitative Microbial Risk Assessment
- Radiological and Nuclear Emergencies
- Randomized Controlled Trials
- Real World Evaluation Strategies
- Reducing Obesity-Related Health Disparities in Hispanic an...
- Resilient Health Systems
- Rural Health in the United States
- Safety, Patient
- School Health Programs in the Pacific Region
- Sex Education in HIV/AIDS Prevention
- Skin Cancer Prevention
- Smoking Cessation
- Social Determinants of Health
- Social Epidemiology
- Social Marketing
- Statistics in Public Health
- STI Networks, Patterns, and Control Strategies
- Systems in the United States, Public Health
- Systems Modeling and Big Data for Non-Communicable Disease...
- Systems Theory in Public Health
- Traditional, Complementary, Alternative, and Integrative M...
- Translation of Science to Practice and Policy
- Traumatic Stress and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
- Tuberculosis among Adults and the Determinants of Health
- Unintentional Injury Prevention
- Urban Health
- Vaccine Hesitancy
- Violence Prevention
- Water Quality
- Water Quality and Water-Related Disease
- Weight Management in US Occupational Settings
- Welfare States, Public Health and Health Inequalities
- Worksite Health Promotion
- World Health Organization (WHO)