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Taking the bus is safer than driving a car, study finds

Traveling by bus is not only better for the environment and your wallet, but it can help reduce the number of accidents involving cyclists and pedestrians, according to a new study.

Researchers from the Universite de Montreal Public Health Research Institute found that the bus was a safer travel option than driving a car and showed that the risk of injury is four-times greater for drivers compared to bus occupants.

The study was published in the Journal of Urban Health and is the first of its kind to examine the impact that bus or car use has on pedestrian safety.

For the study, the researchers examined weekday collision and injury data that had been compiled by police reports in Montreal from 2001 to 2010.

The researchers found that car trips during this time resulted in four times as many pedestrian injuries, five-times more cyclist injuries, and five-times as many fatal and severe injuries compared to buses.

During the ten year period, only ten bus occupants were seriously injured and there were no fatalities along those routes. However, for drivers and passengers in cars, 278 were injured and there were 19 deaths in the same period.

The study also showed that more pedestrians and cyclists were injured or killed by cars compared to buses along those routes.

The results show that taking the bus is safer for everyone on the road because bus drivers are professionally trained and they tend to drive slower and more predictably than cars.

From 2001 to 2010, the researchers suggest that bus travel saved 1,805 car occupants, 156 cyclists, and 476 pedestrians from injury.

Making public transportation more accessible and increasing the number of routes and buses and trains could seriously reduce the number of traffic accidents, injuries, and fatalities.

The researchers next plan to study bus and vehicle data in the years leading up to 2016 in order to make their research more current.

“The fundamental point is that pedestrians, cyclists, and motor-vehicle occupants are mostly injured where the speeds are highest and where there are the most vehicles, on the major arteries,” said  Patrick Morency, the study’s lead author. “The solution? Permanent structure to reduce speeds, and public transit.”

By Kay Vandette, Staff Writer  

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