Monday, January 4, 2010
On-Road Cycling Hazardous to cyclists?
click on table to enlarge - you should see 4 columns
In 2008 there were 292 collisions involving cyclists. My wife almost became one of the fatalities when she was doored two years ago on Bank Street in the Glebe. I have some interest in cycling safety.
The above table is from a city report to transportation committee this Wed. Jan 6th. Please notice that it covers a three year time period and only records the most hazardous zones, ie where there are repeat cycling collisions that result in injury or damages over $1000 (it covers 84 of an estimated 876 cycling collisions in the three year period).
I have heard said that 70% of cycling collisions occur at intersections. Of course this means that 30% of the injuries & some deaths could be reduced or eliminated with off-road paths or segregated cycling facilties.
Note that in the Ottawa stats, first table, that 3 of 4 fatal collisions occured mid-blocks; one (Ottawa River Commuter Expressway at River Street in the near west end) occured at an intersection. This seems to indicate Ottawa is not following the generalized stat.
The second part of the table shows the frequent mid-block collision sites; and the third part shows the most hazardous intersections. Forty-five percent of the most hazardous sites are mid-block; 55% are intersections.
This may have some relationship to Ottawa having only 2% of its streets with designated bike lanes and less than single kilomtre of segregated bike lanes. Recall that the above table only covers 9.6% of the cycling collisions, ie those that tend to cluster at the same locations.
The city staff report goes on to advise council that segregated lanes are not possible at most intersections. [Pardon my skepticism.] The report then goes on about hiring consultants to look at the hazardous spots, etc.
One suggestion I'd make that would be bloody cheap and easy is to eliminate the city's current advice to motorists to 'turn left anytime you can rush it' at signalized intersections. In their almighty rush to turn left across mutliple lanes, motorists cannot or will not see oncoming cyclists. Solution: left turn at multilane intersections only on a left-turn signal, when decent law-abiding cyclists won't be 'in the way' or causing $1000 of damage to precious automobiles.
The second solution is even better: build some proper bike routes. Start with BikeWest, there's space available and construction aplenty planned along the route.