In an effort to improve safety and encourage greater participation, the use of cycle lanes is seen as an important element and many new schemes are have already been introduced across the UK and Europe.
A new study in the journal Transport looked at the impact of cycle lanes on cyclist safety in terms of passing space given by overtaking vehicles.
Surprisingly perhaps they found that while cycle lanes were indeed effective, other factors have a far greater impact on cyclist safety than the presence or absence of cycle lane.
Road width, parking, opposing vehicle flow and speed were critical influences on decreased passing widths.
The authors also note that driver behaviour is a hugely important and unquantified factor.
They urge more qualitative research in this area and noted that in order to reduce perceived risk and encourage more cycling, then reducing or calming existing motorised traffic must be explored first.