NRSC 2018: Focus on cycling

10.08 | 28 November 2018 | |

There has for some while been debate among road safety and active travel professionals about balancing the benefits of sustainable modes in terms of reducing air pollution and improving public health, with concerns about road safety.


  • Ian Davey, BTN BikeShare
  • Lucy Marstrand-Taussig, Healthy Streets Adviser, Project Centre
  • Rianne Hogenbirk, Department of Trauma Surgery, University Medical Center, Groningen
  • Goldie Khera, Consultant General, Brighton and Sussex University Hospital

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10.45 – Goldie Khera, Consultant General, Brighton and Sussex University Hospital
Goldie Khera – a consultant general, laparoscopic and bariatric surgeon with an interest in trauma and emergency surgery – was appointed in 2012 to Brighton and Sussex University Hospital (BSUH).

Cycle helmets – Nerdy or Necessary?

Cycling is fun, great for the environment, cheap and healthy – and becoming more popular

However, witnessed an anecdotal increase in cycle casualties as a result

We need to change attitudes that cycle helmets are not cool – perceived to be nerdy.

Helmets not going to protect from all injuries – but better than nothing.

What’s the evidence?
75% reduction in severe brain injury

Let’s make bike safety a priority by wearing a helmet

Cycle helmets – nerdy & necessary!

10.30 – Rianne Hogenbirk, Department of Trauma Surgery, University Medical Center Groningen
Rianne Hogenbirk is a senior year medical student currently researching the consequences of bicycle crashes in the Netherlands.

Presentation: E-bikes; too fast, too furious! An analysis of e-bike and conventional bicycle related accidents

  • 23,000,000 bicycles in NL  
  • 70,000  bicycle accidents per year
  • 200 bicycle accident deaths per year
  • 33% of total traffic fatalities
  • Introduction of E-bikes in late 90s


  • 1,900,000 in NL
  • Supports 25-27km/h
  • Weight 9kg heavier

Results of study – which took place between July 2014 & May 2016:

475 bicycle accidents – 107 E-bikes  (22.5%)

  • Mean age: 65y
  • Comorbidity (presence of one or more additional disorder/disease) present: 80%

368  conventional  bicyclists (77.5%)  

  • Mean  age: 39y
  • Comorbidity present: 37%  –

No difference in type of accident – but helmet use in only 1 e-biker

More spinal/lower body injuries among e-bikers


  • E-bike accidents occur more frequently in elderly
  • E-bikers: – More often polytraumatized – More severe head-injury – Longer duration of hospital admission
  • More research is needed to make recommendations on preventive measures

10.15 – Lucy Marstrand-Taussig, Healthy Streets Adviser, Project Centre

Lucy Marstrand-Taussig is a transport consultant with around 18 years’ experience in design of either buildings or highways (both public and private sector).

Her key area of interest is planning and designing roads suitable for walking and cycling – specifically enabling more active travel among children, the disabled, women and older people.

Presentation: Transport Curriculum: walking, cycling and road safety

Now a huge demand in active travel – healthy cities

Status quo in UK highways

  1. Entrenched practices – status quo road design
  2. Evidence: 1969  study – as traffic increases:
  • People socialise less with neighbours
  • Stress levels rise
  • Play territory narrows  
  1. Roads are physical manifestation of choices and attitudes
  • The default: car priority despite user hierarchy
  • The exception: pedestrian priority supporting Highway Code Rule 170

Who’s designing for who?
Majority of the population can not comfortably or safely use the majority of our roads

Two types of research  

  1. Current local authorities practitioners (via LinkedIn)

Bachelor’s degrees by subject held by Heads of Transport in local authorities.

  • 64% Engineering
  • 3% Law
  • 2% Design related
  • 8% Transport related
  • 6% Maths and sciences
  • 9% Planning
  • 6% Geography

Gender breakdown of Heads of Transport in UK local authorities

  • Approx 90% male

2. Training the next generation – comparison of 9 Transport MSc syllabi  

Proportion of module guides which mention (explicitly or implicitly) different types of infrastructure  

  • Walking and cycling not mainstream

Southampton syllabus – Transportation Engineering: Analysis and Design Module

  • 14 elements, 1 directly covered walking and cycling

Walking and cycling expressed physically as a secondary afterthought – but all the topics have a major impact on walking and cycling

What should be on the engineering syllabus?

  • 14 elements – 1 on motor traffic, 13 on walking and cycling

Road funding to ‘Transport Equality’ funding:

  1. Re-allocate funding to cater for everyone
  2. Roads to comply with Equality Act 2010  
  3. New focus on playing out (roads, not parks)
  4. Roads to have a minimum Level of Service

10.00 – Ian Davey, BTN BikeShare

Ian Davey has been involved in sustainable transport in Brighton & Hove for over 20 years. Most recently he has been working on setting up and running the Brighton & Hove bike share scheme, BTNBikeShare.

Presentation: Bike Sharing in Brighton & Hove: Impact on Road Safety?


Size of scheme:

  • 450 bikes, 56 hubs, 750+ stands  
  • Phase 2: +120  bikes, +10-12 hubs, +150 stands

Bikes & hubs

  • Smart bikes
  • Hybrid: best of docked & dockless
  • Hubs particularly in key locations give structure & visibility
  • Enable sound management of public & private space
  • Site safety audits, TRO, Licence
  • Strong brand identity
  • Sense of local ownership

Using the bikes

  • No deposit
  • Annual rider: £72 – 60 mins free use per day (20p/day)
  • Easy rider: 3p/min, £1min per trip
  • £12 max per day
  • £2 out of hub lock fee
  • £1 return to hub bounty
  • £10 out of area lock fee

Year 1+ headline stats

“The most popular bike share scheme in UK outside of London.”

  • 60,000 registered customers  
  • 450,000 trips  
  • 850,000 measure miles cycled  
  • Average rental length: 22 minutes  
  • Average trip distance: 1.9 miles  
  • RTC – 1 (reported)  
  • KSI – 0

Available research on safety of  bike share

The Safety of Bike Share Systems: Elliot Fishman, Paul Schepers, International Transport Forum, OECD, 2018.

Comprehensive review of existing research:

  • Notes: bikeshare now in 1000 cities with 4.5m bikes (Russell  Meddin 2018)
  • Cites: Jacobsen (2003) and his landmark paper on Safety In Numbers (SIN)  
  • Fears about safety in Citi Bike in NY proved unfounded – 1 fatality in 5 years

Conclusions – Fishman & Schepers (2018)   

“on a per kilometre basis, bike share is associated with decreased risk of both fatal and non  fatal bicycle injuries when compared to general bike riding.”

Possible contributory factors:  

  • Safety in numbers – increased driver awareness
  • Lower speeds
  • Upright riding position increases visual profile and field of vision
  • Drivers enhanced caution towards inexperienced riders
  • Trips concentrated in central areas where general speeds are lower and prevalence of cycle infrastructure greater

BTNBikeShare: Safety conclusions

BTNBikeShare is very safe. Possible contributory factors:

  • High rates of cycling in city
  • Good road safety in Brighton & Hove
  • High quality well maintained bikes
  • Functioning lights that come on automatically
  • Very visible: bike colour and upright position  
  • Speeds are low
  • Common sight on city roads
  • Other road users give more space?
  • Generally ridden in central areas  



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