Durham County

How can you ride your bicycle more safely on Durham streets? This website can tell you

Researchers at Duke analyzed crash data involving bicycles from 2011-15 in order to make safety recommendations to local transportation officials.
Researchers at Duke analyzed crash data involving bicycles from 2011-15 in order to make safety recommendations to local transportation officials. cliddy@newsobserver.com

Researchers at Duke are using bicycle crash data to improve transportation policy in Durham.

They analyzed data from the state Department of Transportation office in Durham on crashes involving pedestrians, bicycles and motor vehicles, according to a post Thursday on the Duke Research Blog.

Durham County averaged 23 bicycle and 116 pedestrian crashes per year between 2011-15. They also found males over age 16 were involved in about 75 percent of bicycle crashes.

From this, they created an interactive website that demonstrates how factors such as the time of day, weather conditions and demographics affect crash risk. It also allowed them to develop policy ideas for improving the safety of Durham’s street for bicyclists and pedestrians.

Their findings led them to recommend the installation of more crosswalks, additional median islands and expansion of bike lanes on roads with a high number of reported crashes.

“Ideally this could help make things safer, help people stay out of hospitals and save lives,” DATA+Ghost Bikes team member Lauren Fox told Duke Research Blog.

The project was an offshoot of an international study conducted by Harris Solomon, an associate professor of cultural anthropology and global health at Duke. He originally studied traffic accidents in India, a country with a large population of bicycle riders.

Joe Johnson: 919-419-6678, @JEJ_HSNews

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