According to a new article in the American Journal of Public Health, a study of cyclists in Toronto and Vancouver indicates that riding in a bike lane reduces your chance of injury or accident by 50 percent, compared to what it would have been on a similar road without designated bike space. Protected bike lanes (with barriers like the spectacular one on Flushing Ave) reduce chance of injury by a full 90 percent.
While this study does, essentially, seem to be proving what common sense already indicates, the data has apparently come as a big surprise to people whose job it is to monitor public transportation.
Atlantic Cities reports this study represents a big industry shake-up, as transportation engineers have for years "argued that you're actually better off learning to ride alongside cars than having your own bike lane." The concept, known as "vehicular cycling," became popular among researchers 40 years ago, and the study's author calls it "a very often repeated philosophy."
Which, you know, makes basically no sense and probably offers a hint as to why something as basic and easily-agreed-upon as standard bike lanes has taken (or is still taking) so long to get off the ground. In any case, good news for those of you who follow these things.
Follow Virginia K. Smith on Twitter @vksmith.