A good investment
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