Cyclist crash rates and risk factors in a prospective cohort in seven European cities

Michael Branion-Calles, Thomas Götschi, Trisalyn Nelson, Esther Anaya-Boig, Ione Avila-Palencia, Alberto Castro, Tom Cole-Hunter, Audrey de Nazelle, Evi Dons, Mailin Gaupp-Berghausen, Regine Gerike, Luc Int Panis, Sonja Kahlmeier, Mark Nieuwenhuijsen, David Rojas-Rueda, Meghan Winters

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Increased cycling uptake can improve population health, but barriers include real and perceived risks. Crash risk factors are important to understand in order to improve safety and increase cycling uptake. Many studies of cycling crash risk are based on combining diverse sources of crash and exposure data, such as police databases (crashes) and travel surveys (exposure), based on shared geography and time. When conflating crash and exposure data from different sources, the risk factors that can be quantified are only those variables common to both datasets, which tend to be limited to geography (e.g. countries, provinces, municipalities) and a few general road user characteristics (e.g. gender and age strata). The Physical Activity through Sustainable Transport Approaches (PASTA) project was a prospective cohort study that collected both crash and exposure data from seven European cities (Antwerp, Barcelona, London, Örebro, Rome, Vienna and Zürich). The goal of this research was to use data from the PASTA project to quantify exposure-adjusted crash rates and model adjusted crash risk factors, including detailed sociodemographic characteristics, attitudes about transportation, neighbourhood built environment features and location by city. We used negative binomial regression to model the influence of risk factors independent of exposure. Of the 4,180 cyclists, 10.2 % reported 535 crashes. We found that overall crash rates were 6.7 times higher in London, the city with the highest crash rate, relative to Örebro, the city with the lowest rate. Differences in overall crash rates between cities are driven largely by crashes that did not require medical treatment and that involved motor-vehicles. In a parsimonious crash risk model, we found higher crash risks for less frequent cyclists, men, those who perceive cycling to not be well regarded in their neighbourhood, and those who live in areas of very high building density. Longitudinal collection of crash and exposure data can provide important insights into individual differences in crash risk. Substantial differences in crash risks between cities, neighbourhoods and population groups suggest there is great potential for improvement in cycling safety.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number105540
JournalAccident Analysis and Prevention
StatePublished - Jun 2020


  • Cohort
  • Crash rates
  • Cycling safety
  • Europe
  • Risk factors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Law
  • Human Factors and Ergonomics


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