Bike Lanes and Slow Car Speeds Can Improve Bicycling Comfort for Some (But Not All) People

Transportation planners in cities across the country are trying to increase bicycling to achieve mobility, public health, and environmental goals. For bicycling to become a mainstream travel mode, however, riders must feel safe and comfortable in the bicycling environment. Thus, cities are changing transportation infrastructure to provide more bicycling-friendly streets.

It remains unclear exactly how much infrastructure change is needed to make potential cyclists feel comfortable enough to bicycle regularly. To better understand what road characteristics contribute to more comfortable bicycling, researchers at UC Davis surveyed 3,089 travelers to the UC Davis campus to measure perceived comfort of bicycling in different road environments using video recordings of 25 urban and rural roads from the San Francisco Bay Area. This policy brief summarizes findings from that research, which provide guidance for communities aiming to increase bicycling.