City streets can be scary places, especially when you’re on a bike and everyone else is rushing past you in cars. Our streets can also be deadly places: in 2010, 618 U.S. cyclists were killed on roads. Fully one-third of bike fatalities happen within intersections. The prospect of getting smashed into the asphalt keeps all but the most fearless cyclists off of many city streets. Scary streets mean a less bikeable city.
“Nobody wants to ride their bike in the left lane of a six-lane road with 40-mile-an-hour traffic. It’s crazy,” says Peter Furth. He’s a civil and environmental engineering professor at Northeastern University and co-author of a new report out from the Mineta Transportation Institute that looks at how varying levels of “traffic stress” on different city streets can limit where people are willing to ride.