Crash risk and subjective risk perception during urban cycling: Accounting for cycling volume

Research output: Contribution to journalResearch articleContributedpeer-review



Most research concerned with cyclists’ safety has been focused on the crash risk (i.e. their objective safety). However, there has been a growing interest in the perceived level of this risk (i.e. the subjective safety of cyclists). Crash risk and subjective risk perception in urban cycling appear to be mostly well aligned. For example, reduced speed limits have been found to reduce both objective and subjective risks (although there is also evidence for some incongruences). This absolute number of incidents could be misleading, as it does not account for potential differences in cycling volume (i.e. cyclists are likely to prefer streets with reduced speed limits). Thus, it may be important to adjust the absolute number of incidents relative number to the local cycling volume. In this research, we investigate the relation of cycling crashes and subjective risk perception (operationalized through reports from a crowd-sourcing project) for different types of cycling infrastructure and different speed limits, while accounting for the local cycling volume. We find that the absolute number of VGI reports and crashes can be misleading: whereas the absolute incident numbers, for example, suggest few benefits of cycling lanes and tracks, adjusting for the cycling volume reveals an increase of both objective and subjective safety as compared to streets without cycling infrastructure. We also identify situations where cyclists apparently underestimate the crash risk (i.e. on cycleways opposing the cars’ traveling direction, and at streets with a speed limit of 30 km/h intersecting streets with higher speed limits). Additional research is required to understand the sources of these discrepancies, and how to make cyclists aware of them.


Original languageEnglish
Article number106470
JournalAccident analysis and prevention
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2022

External IDs

PubMed 34768116
Scopus 85118773488
ORCID /0000-0002-5497-3698/work/142254586


Sustainable Development Goals


  • Crash statistics, Crowdsourced data, Cycling safety, Cycling volume, GIS, Subjective risk perception, Accidents, Traffic, Automobiles, Awareness, Bicycling, Humans, Perception