Improved bicycle infrastructure has become increasingly common in the United States as cities seek to attract new riders, including the demographic who do not feel comfortable riding with motor vehicle traffic. A key tool in designing low-stress networks is the use of separated or protected bicycle lanes, and intersections are the critical links. This paper presents an analysis of the perceived level of comfort of current and potential bicyclists from 277 survey respondents who rated 26 firstperson video clips of a bicyclist riding through mixing zones, lateral shifts, bend-in, bend-out, and protected intersection designs. A total of 7,166 ratings were obtained from surveys conducted at four locations in Oregon, Minnesota, and Maryland, including urban and suburban locations. Survey respondents were categorized into four groups based on their response to attitudes and bicycling behavior by cluster analysis. Descriptive analysis and regression modeling results find that designs that minimize interactions with motor vehicles, such as fully separated signal phases and protected intersections, are rated as most comfortable (72% of respondents rated them as very comfortable or somewhat comfortable). Mean comfort drops off significantly for other designs and interactions with turning vehicles result in lower comfort ratings though there are differences for each design. Importantly, as the exposure distance, measured as the distance a person on a bicycle is exposed to traffic, increases the comfort decreases.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Civil and Structural Engineering
- Mechanical Engineering