This chart is from a Canadian study of cyclists injured while riding in urban areas. It shows the relative safety of different street configurations vs. the preference (perhaps an indicator of “perceived safety”) of the cyclists. The farther to the left a point is, the more dangerous it is. The farther up a point is, the more it is “favored” by cyclists.
My 10 cent analysis:
We already know that major streets without any bike accommodations are the least safe and the least preferred to cyclists, no big surprise.
Up in the top left corner you see that cyclists like multiuse paths (such as the Burke-Gilman trail), but that they aren’t very safe. I think we can all see why that is true, too many users at different speeds, and less emphasis on following proper rules of the road.
Interesting that cycle tracks (meaning buffered/separated bike lanes on roads) are more safe than bike-only paths. I assume it has again to do with following the rules of the road, but also probably that you are more likely to get head-on encounters on a path than in a bike lane.
Notice that paths of any type are NO MORE SAFE AND IN SOME CASES LESS SAFE than most street configurations.
Take away- we should lobby for cycle tracks if we want to be safe and comfortable while riding.
More complete analysis here: