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A new virtual tool could help planners choose the best places to install bikes lanes in cities.
The data-based tool builds on previous research at the University of Waterloo that validated the safety benefits of bike lanes for cyclists and motorists.
Sensors - Handlebar - Camera - Researchers - Hundreds
Collected using sensors and a handlebar camera as researchers cycled hundreds of kilometres in Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario, the data showed bike lanes virtually eliminate vehicles getting too close to cyclists when they pass them.
"Drivers aren't trying to scare cyclists or be inconsiderate," said Bruce Hellinga, a civil and environmental engineering professor at Waterloo. "In many cases, they just don't feel they can leave more space because of the geometry of the road and the proximity of other vehicles."
Roads - Bike - Lanes - Motorists - Metre
On two-lane roads without bike lanes, passing motorists got within a metre of cyclists 12 per cent of the time. With bike lanes, that number dropped to just .2 per cent.
On four-lane roads, unsafe passing dropped from almost six per cent with no bike lanes to .5 per cent with bikes lanes.
Metre - Separation - Passing - Passing - Study
One metre of separation was used to distinguish safe passing from unsafe passing in the study because it is a legal requirement in some jurisdictions in North America.
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