Perceived Safety and Separated Bike Lanes in the Midwest: Results from a Roadway Design Survey in Michigan

Rebecca L. Sanders, Belinda Judelman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


This article presents the results of an address-based sample survey (n = 351) conducted in the fall of 2016 for the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) as part of an effort to provide guidance for building sidepaths. The survey investigated attitudes toward bicycling among drivers and bicyclists, bicycling habits, barriers to bicycling, and roadway design preferences regarding bicycle infrastructure in Michigan. In particular, this survey explored design preferences while bicycling with children, bicycling by oneself, and driving. Safety emerged as a key barrier to bicycling, as did distance, weather, and the difficulty of carrying things or traveling with others. Roadway design preferences were clearly weighted toward greater separation when sharing the roadway whether as a bicyclist or a driver, and this trend was most pronounced (p < 0.001) when considering bicycling with children. In all cases, ratings for one-way separated bike lanes were similar to those for sidepaths, suggesting that separated bike lanes could be a key part of addressing the safety and comfort concerns of more cautious riders. Preferences for separation were strongly associated with perceived safety as a barrier. These results were even stronger for non-transport-cyclists, although all groups, regardless of frequency or type of bicycling, preferred more separation. These results corroborate past research and add compelling evidence for separated facilities as a key part of expanding the potential for bicycling trips in general, and particularly with children. The survey findings will inform guidance about sidepath design for MDOT.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalTransportation Research Record
Issue number36
StatePublished - Dec 1 2018
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering


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