The safety of urban cycle tracks: A review of the literature

  • Published: Accident Analysis & Prevention Volume 52, 28 March 2013, 2013
  • Authors: B. Thomas & M. DeRobertis
  • Date Added: 28 Aug 2016
  • Last Update: 31 Oct 2016
  • Format: pdf


To examine studies of cycle tracks from different countries in order to identify the safety of these facilities relative to cycling on roads.


A literature review of 22 papers from Northern Europe and one from Canada, all dating from 1987.

Key Findings:

  • One way cycle tracks are generally safer at intersections than two way cycle tracks.

  • When effective intersection treatments are employed, constructing cycle tracks on busy roads can reduce collisions and injuries.

  • When there is a control of exposure and all collision types are included, one way cycle tracks reduce the severity of injuries even if no intersection treatments are implemented.

  • Intersection treatments that appear to be effective in improving safety are:

    • Having the cycle track closer to the adjacent road traffic on the approach to the intersection to increase the visibility of cyclists to motorists;

    • Having advance stop lines for motorised traffic at least 20m back from the entrance of the junction;

    • At side road crossings and locations where cyclists might be travelling straight with vehicles turning across the path of a cycle track, cycle crossings should be raised, effectively providing a speed bump that reduces vehicle turning speeds and therefore lowers the severity of potential injuries to cyclists;

    • Having cycle signals to formally separate the movements of cyclists going straight ahead and motor vehicles turning.

  • The safety benefit of coloured cycle crossings is less conclusive. Some studies suggested that they improve safety, but only when used on one arm of a four arm intersection. When used on multiple arms they become less prominent to drivers.

  • The literature reviewed failed to address injury severity and also take account of how exposure affects risk.


Cycle infrastructure, safety, cycle tracks, intersections, junctions


A review of studies looking at the safety of different intersection treatments.