Assessing bicycle crash risks controlling for detailed exposure: A Copenhagen case study

Marcus Skyum Myhrmann, Stefan Eriksen Mabit*

*Corresponding author for this work

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A better understanding of factors associated with bicycle crashes can inform future efforts to limit crash risks. Many previous studies have analysed crash risk based on crash databases. However, these can only provide conditional information on crash risks. A few recent studies have included aggregate flow measures in their crash risk analyses. This study incorporates detailed bicycle flow to investigate factors related to bicycle crashes. Specifically, the study assesses the relative crash risk given various conditions by applying Palm distributions to control for exposure. 

The study specifically investigates the relationship between weather and time conditions and the relative risk of bicycle crashes at a disaggregate level. The study uses bicycle crash data from police reports of bicycle crashes from 2017–2020 in the greater Copenhagen area (N = 4877). 

The relations between the bicycle crash risk and the air temperature and wind speeds are found to be highly non-linear. The relative risk of bicycle crashes is elevated at low and high temperatures (0 °C ¿ x, x ¿ 21 °C). The results also show how decreasing visibility relates to increasing bicycle crash risk. Meanwhile, cycling during the early morning peak (7–8) and afternoon peak hours (15–18) is related to an increased risk of bicycle crashes. While some of the effects are likely spurious, they highlight specific conditions associated with higher relative risk. Finally, the results illustrate the increased risk at weekend night times when cyclists are likely to bike under the influence of alcohol.

In conclusion, the analysis confirms that visibility, slippery surfaces, and intoxication are all factors associated with a higher risk of bicycle crashes. Hence, it is relevant to consider how infrastructure planning and preventive measures can modify the bicycle environment to minimise these risks.
Original languageEnglish
Article number107226
JournalAccident Analysis and Prevention
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • Palm distribution
  • Cycling
  • Bicycle crash risk
  • Disaggregate risk assessment
  • Adverse weather impact
  • Accident analysis


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