Researchers from the University of Seville have found that connecting the Spanish city’s cycle lanes increased their positive effects on cycling safety.
The study, to be published in the May issue of the journal Accident Analysis and Prevention, looked at the risk of cyclists being involved in a collision with a motor vehicle.
To do this, the researchers looked at data reported by the traffic police in the period 2000 to 2013 – seven years before and after the city’s cycle network was built.
Seville has created a network of 120km of segregated cycle tracks and now sees more than 70,000 cycle trips made daily, up from just 6,000 trips back in 2006.
The researchers observed not only that the risk of cycling dropped after the creation of a network of segregated cycle lanes, but that networking itself had a substantial effect on safety beyond the increase in distance covered by dedicated infrastructure.
The majority of Seville’s cycle network was implemented in just two years and Seville’s head of urban planning, José Garcia Cebrián, told the Guardian that opposition to the work only began when the infrastructure was actually being built.
“In Spain there’s been a lot of planning about cycling, but then the plans get put into a drawer. So there was no opposition during the planning process, as everyone thought the same thing would happen.”
He added: “As soon as the building work was finishing and the fences were removed, the cyclists just came. The head of the building team, who’d been very sceptical about the process, called me and said, ‘Where have all those cyclists come from?’ That’s when I knew for sure it was going to work. They came from all over the city.”
Last year, the whole of Seville city centre was declared a 30km/h zone in an attempt to make cycling and walking more attractive. Cyclists also have priority on all of the streets.