Cycling is a sustainable mode of travel and an alternative to motor vehicle trips, particularly for shorter trips. However, the risk of crashing while cycling is typically higher than while travelling in a motor vehicle. To create a safer environment for cyclists, traffic engineers and transport planners can select a number of safety countermeasures. These include changes to the road layout, such as reducing traffic volumes and speeds; installing cycling lanes and paths; and conducting enforcement and education programmes focused on drivers and cyclists.
The crash benefits to cyclists of reducing traffic volumes and speeds, and constructing cycle lanes and intersection treatments have been investigated during 2006 and quantified based on overseas research and data collected within Christchurch, Palmerston North and Nelson. It was found that cycle lane facilities provided a reduction in cycle crashes of around 10%. No suitable New Zealand data is available on the safety of cycle paths and speed reduction measures, so the discussion focuses on international research findings.