The role of intersection and street design on severity of bicycle-motor vehicle crashes

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BackgroundSafety concerns are a major barrier to cycling. Intersection and street design variables such as intersection angles and street width might contribute to the severity of crashes and the safety concerns. In this study we examined whether these design variables were associated with bicycle-motor vehicle crashes (BMVC) severity.MethodsUsing the geographical information system and latitudes/longitudes recorded by the police using a global positioning device, we extracted intersection angles, street width, bicycle facilities, posted speed limits and annual average daily traffic from 3266 BMVC data from New York City police records. Additional variables about BMVC, including age and sex of the bicyclist, time of the day, road surface conditions, road character, vehicle type and injury severity, were obtained from police reports. Injury severity was classified as severe (incapacitating or killed) or non-severe (non-incapacitating, possible injury). The associations between injury severity and environment design variables were examined using multivariate log-binomial regression model.FindingsCompared with crashes at orthogonal intersections, crashes at non-orthogonal intersections had 1.37 times (95% CI 1.05 to 1.80) and non-intersection street segments had 1.31 times (95% CI 1.01 to 1.70) higher risk of a severe injury. Crashes that involved a truck or a bus were twice as likely to result in a severe injury outcome; street width was not significantly associated with injury severity.ConclusionCrashes at non-orthogonal intersections and non-intersection segments are more likely to result in higher injury severity. The findings can be used to improve road design and develop effective safety interventions.

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