Second, the stronger the position of cycling and/or walking, the fewer cyclists are killed or seriously injured. There is most likely a two-way causality, meaning that it is possible, and also desirable, to create self-reinforcing dynamics – improved safety conditions increase the number of active travellers, which in turn has a positive effect on safety.
The goal for city planners must be to increase and ensure the presence of pedestrians and cyclists in well-designed urban streets through better infrastructure and maintenance, separated cycle paths and “traffic calming”.
Many European cities are currently investing in developing urban areas that provide additional space and focus on cyclists and pedestrians – not least by reclaiming space previously dedicated to cars, and separating cyclists from motorised traffic. This can be illustrated using examples from cities in various countries.
EXAMPLE: LONDON’S CYCLE SUPERHIGHWAYS
One of the most interesting examples of how high-quality bicycle routes can be developed even in dense, existing urban areas is London’s Cycle Superhighways initiative. By using quiet, parallel routes, active mode travellers have received dedicated infrastructure along main routes at the cost of fewer car lanes. The East-West Cycle Superhighway is a particularly impressive example.
To prioritise cyclists and other road users on the new routes, London created:
- A sufficiently separated, two-way bicycle track to separate cyclists from motor traffic.
- Innovative junctions for cyclists, including early start as well as protected two-stage right turn facilities.
- Additional space for pedestrians using traffic islands, wider footpaths, and bus and coach.
- Stop waiting areas.
- New and/or improved pedestrian crossings.
EXAMPLE: HELSINKI’S BIKE SHARING SYSTEM
Helsinki has managed to double cycling in twenty years (from 1997 to 2017). A major contributor to the city’s success has been the development of a high-quality network of bicycle roads, known as “Baanas”.
A well-functioning bike sharing system has also contributed. In 2016, Helsinki’s bike sharing system had 50 distribution stations and 500 bicycles. In the cycling season of the same year, 400,000 trips were made. The system was expanded in 2017, to 140 stations and 1,400 bicycles, which resulted in a substantial number of additional users. Each bicycle made six daily trips on average.