Better cycling infrastructure at junctions needed as cycle collision hotspots revealed

cyclist on cycle path

The creation of high quality infrastructure, such as the South West City Way in Glasgow, would help reduce the number of cycle collisions

22 May 2017

Sustrans Scotland is calling for improved cycling infrastructure at junctions, after research has revealed that roundabouts and T-junctions are the main cycle collision hotspots in Scotland.

Cycle safety and collision hotspots  

The findings, published by Sustrans’ Scottish Research Programme, are set to be presented at the Scottish Transport Applications and Research (STAR) Conference in Glasgow on Wednesday (24 May).

The paper titled "Cycling Safety in Scotland, Cycle Collision Hotspots", identified locations which had a relatively high number of collisions, compared to the level of cycling activity in the area, between 2005 and 2014. 

It also assessed the severity of cyclist causalities at each location and scored this against the population size in each area and the number of people in the vicinity who had reported they cycled to work in the 2011 Census.

Safety concerns highlight the importance of high-quality infrastructure  

Out of the top 20 ranked locations for cycle collisions in Scotland, the research found that 19 of the incidents occurred at a junction or within 20 meters of one.

Roundabouts appeared most frequently for cycling collisions, in eight of the 20 hotspot locations, whilst seven of the locations were at T or staggered junctions. 

Commenting on the findings John Lauder, Sustrans Scotland National Director said:

“Safety is often cited as the main reason why people don’t cycle for more of the journeys they make every day. This research highlights the importance of having high-quality cycling infrastructure in place at junctions, so that collisions can be prevented. 

"We know that better cycle infrastructure increases the feeling of safety and ultimately the number of people on bikes. Through our Community Links, Street Design and National Cycle Network funding, which is provided by Transport Scotland, Sustrans helps to ensure this happens. 

Put quite simply: the more people in a place who cycle, the safer it becomes for everyone.

- John Lauder, Sustrans Scotland National Director

Findings from the report 

Although the report found that Edinburgh recorded the locations with the highest number of cycle collisions over the nine-year period, once researchers took into account the relative number of cyclists in an area and the severity of the collisions, they found that a greater number of hotspots were based in or around greater Glasgow. 

This was because even though the greater Glasgow area had a higher urban population, the proportion of people who cycled to work was low in comparison. 

This highlights the fact that in areas where cycling is more popular, the risk of collisions occurring decreases. Research suggests that doubling cycling leads to a reduction in the risks of cycling by around a third, partly because drivers have increased awareness of people on bikes and because an area is more likely to have cycling infrastructure.