A good in­vest­ment

National Post (Latest Edition) - - LETTERS -

Re: Death in the bike lane: Lawrence Solomon, Jan. 2

While I agree that get­ting around by bike can still be far riskier than it needs to be in many com­mu­ni­ties, my agree­ment with Mr. Solomon be­gins and ends there.

The un­nec­es­sary vul­ner­a­bil­ity of peo­ple on bikes is a rea­son to build more safe spa­ces to cy­cle, not a rea­son to tear out bike lanes and ask peo­ple to bike in the same traf­fic lane as cars and trucks. Mak­ing a case against bike lanes by cit­ing road safety does not line up with the ev­i­dence.

In the last half of 2017, two stud­ies were re­leased that in­di­cated over­all road safety in­creased on streets with bike lanes. In Ot­tawa, the Lau­rier Ave Safety Au­dit saw the collision rate for peo­ple on bikes de­crease by 32 per cent while the vol­ume of cy­clists in­creased by 330 per cent. Even with more peo­ple cy­cling on Lau­rier, there were fewer col­li­sions. The new de­sign of the road in­creased safety for pedes­tri­ans as well, with a re­ported 50 per cent de­crease in collision fre­quency for peo­ple on foot.

Sim­i­larly, when the City of Toronto re­leased their re­port look­ing at the Bloor Street bike lane pi­lot project, they found that over­all road safety was im­proved with a 44 per cent de­crease in over­all con­flicts.

If it’s road safety you are af­ter, bike lanes are prov­ing to be a good in­vest­ment.

Mr. Solomon con­cludes by writ­ing that ed­u­ca­tion and en­force­ment are the an­swers the re­duc­ing the risks in­her­ent in cy­cling. But ed­u­ca­tion and en­force­ment alone will not make cy­cling safer — these go hand in hand with build­ing safe spa­ces to ride a bike.

Tear­ing out bike lanes won’t make our roads safer, and it won’t rid our roads of cy­clists. We know from our own re­search that 54 per cent of On­tario res­i­dents want to ride their bikes more. Peo­ple want the free­dom to choose how they get around their com­mu­ni­ties, and they want to ar­rive home safely at the end of the day no mat­ter what mode of trans­porta­tion they choose. Build­ing cy­cle tracks, sep­a­rated and con­ven­tional bike lanes helps to pro­vide that choice, and they help make our roads safer for ev­ery­one in the process. Jamie Stuck­less, Ex­ec­u­tive Direc­tor of the Share the Road Cy­cling Coali­tion


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