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The effect of traffic lane widths on the safety of cyclists in urban areas.

Schramm, A, Rakotonirainy, A (Peer reviewed)

Road Environment


This literature review examines the relationship between traffic lane widths on the safety of road users. It focuses on the impacts of lane widths on motor vehicle behaviour and cyclists’ safety. The review commenced with a search of available databases. Peer reviewed articles and road authority reports were reviewed, as well as current engineering guidelines. Research shows that traffic lane width influences drivers’ perceived difficulty of the task, risk perception and possibly speed choices. Total roadway width, and the presence of onroad cycling facilities, influence cyclists’ positioning on the road. Lateral displacement between bicycles and vehicles is smallest when a marked bicycle facility is present. Reduced motor vehicle speeds can significantly improve the safety of vulnerable road users, particularly pedestrians and cyclists. It has been shown that if road lane widths on urban roads were reduced, through various mechanisms, it could result in a safety environment for all road users.