2008 Bike Accidents Map

Just in time for the Spring cycling rush, the Toronto Star posted a new Map of the Week: Bike accidents. This map of "accidents" on the streets of Toronto gives a quick and handy guide to the cyclist-related carnage on Toronto's streets.

I haven't studied this map in great detail yet, but it doesn't look like things have changed that much from other similar maps I've seen in the past. Some typical observations on these maps:

  • The core east-west streets (Bloor, College, Queen, etc.) seem to have solid patterns and high concentrations of "accidents".
  • Some of the north-south streets like Bay and University look bad too.
  • The number of cycling "accidents" drops quickly once you get out of the core. Most likely because the number of cyclists drops too.
  • There are lots of "accidents" even when a bike lane is in place (e.g. Davenport).
  • This map also confirms that there are cyclists in Scarborough (unfortunately, they have "accidents" too).

According to The Star, who saved you plenty of time by not having to click on ALL of the dots, here are the worst intersections in Toronto:

110 intersections had more than one accident (the great majority with two). Here are the top nine:

  • 7 Bay and Dundas
  • 7 College and Crawford
  • 5 Queen and Broadview
  • 5 Yonge and Dundas
  • 4 Bloor and Bathurst
  • 4 Bloor and Keele
  • 4 Spadina and Dundas
  • 4 Islington and the Queensway
  • 4 King and John

Personally, for the vast majority of my riding, I actually feel pretty safe. But a map like this is a good reminder that bad things can happen. I just hope it doesn't end up scaring people away from riding.

Comments

The Davenport bike lane is only giving the illusion of protection. Cyclists must be extra vigilant because the motorists tend to roll right through the bike lanes on curves - as is the case with most lanes that follow a bend in the road.

What really amazes me though is that there are more recorded accidents on college than on Bloor. College has it's iffy spots, but I've always thought of it as one of the safest corridors for cyclists. Clearly I've been letting myself get far too comfortable.

This is a repeating of older patterns it seems more than anything new. The larger trouble is what the City is doing about it as I don't think the pedestrians are getting the same degree of injuries, and they have sidewalks pretty well everywhere.
I and others await the Bloor St. study - it seems to take everlonger, and I also wonder how much advance notice there will be of it arising within the City processes and how much new input they will be "considering".
The West end bike route study isn't all that encouraging though at least there's a nod to try something on one of the main carterials, but by avoiding including Bloor, and not doing a two-in-one lane on a curb lane of Queen St., they're arguably still placing lots of cyclists within a lot of preventable danger.

Could be that it has more accidents, could be that it has too many censored parking/stopping in the bike lanes (where it has them).

I was actually expecting to see a lite more accidents at College and Euclid (where the bike lane ends for westbound cyclists)

Looks like the good news is that no cyclists were hit on the 401!

In some respects the map is rather superficial. If we overlay cyclists traffic patterns, would we not expect to see the number of accidents as shown in this map? So if we compared trips to the number of accidents would we come up with a different map? ie., if the overall average collision rate is 1 (a number I made up for simplicity) for every thousand trips, we should see many more collisions on College St (high cycling use) when compared to Birchmount (low cycling use) when we look at the number of collisions for each -yet percentage wise they are the same. When the collision rate falls outside the average for a particular street then it becomes a concern.

I think that the map better describes cyclists traffic patterns rather than any problem areas. It shows us where resources should be spent on improving conditions for cyclists, Bloor/Danforth, Queen and Yonge are high on the list, simply because this is where they are riding.

Really does not tell us why the collisions occurred. I know Cherry St. south of Lakeshore is risky. The multi-use path cuts across Cherry in a very odd way added to the fact that traffic in that location is generally very confused. There is also the pinch point on the Bloor Viaduct. College and Spadina, very poorly designed intersection for cars and bikes alike. Kris has already pointed out that we do not know if the collisions along routes with bike lanes were caused by motorists parked in the bike lane or the bike lane itself. The only time I have run into problems in a bike lane is when motorists have tried to squeeze me out so they can park in the bike lane.

The Star also has a GTA traffic fatalities map
http://www3.thestar.com/static/googlemaps/starmaps.html?xm...

Then there is the Memorial Map for Cyclist fatalities in Toronto
http://maps.google.ca/maps/ms?ie=UTF8&hl=en&msa=0&msid=104...

For the record and nothing more.

Can anybody tell me what use this map is; I'd like to know.

Tom Vanderbilt (author of Traffic) writes today on his blog about London's Cycling Crash Map and he brings up valid points about that map that can be aplied to this map.

The map does not have many important details that would make it truly useful, like what kind of incident occured, time of day, the weather, the age and/or experience of the people involved, or any other factors that could be useful in gaging risk, or that would suggest what improvements need to be made to lessen risks.

We already know that there are risks. Let us find way to mitigate the risks, not simply highlight them.

I think that this map is no more that a mere curiosity; nothing of value.

If you really want to be safe, it's best to stay off the street or as far from speeding traffic as possible. Take your bike on the train, subway or bus and enjoy the hundreds of kilometres of beautiful riding trails in the city and outside of town.

Besides the suntan and the fresh air in your lungs, you'll notice something after you get home... Your nerves didn't get the workout they usually do...

http://www.bikesandtransit.com
http://twitter.com/bikesandtransit

Bikes+Transit.com - Get right on it!

Bicyclists SHOULD NOT HAVE to stay off the roads to accommodate motorholics. Roads after all are shared facilities and there is obligation under the Ontareeareeo DOT Highway Traffic Act for motorholics to accommodate bicyclists.
Yes, there is that "to the right" as practicable clause but let us remember it is the bicyclist who is to determine what is practicable. Not the motorholic or the traffic division cop pimping for the CAA who buries the corpse under a burden of questionable "proof" including the enduring claim "they weaved". Show me the skid marks slick. I don't mean the ones in your pants.

The off road trails are riskier than riding on the street. Remember off street collisions are not reported in the same way as on street collisions because they are not covered by the HTA.

The off road trails are poorly designed, few in Toronto meet any sort of national guidelines.

Off street paths are shared with everyone and their brothers and their brothers' dog to boot in space not much bigger than a sidewalk. We all know how safe riding on a sidewalk is.

Even as a purely recreational pursuit at a leisurely pace many cyclists get injured on the trails.

Sorry folks - I still disagree - we're not talking extreme sports here. Trails are much safer. The Trans Canada Trail and Waterfront Trail and Toronto's bikeways are mostly paved or firm gravel, and if on-street it's a quiet one.

I took my kids many times out to Ajax last summer and rode all the way to Scarborough. They are 6 and 8. It was a pleasure not have to fear for their lives all the time. Yes I suppose they could drive off a bluff or fall into a creek or something, but they seemed to have been born with the instinct to know that would be a bad thing.

To those who say trails are not safe - I say the same thing I tell myself all the time... Speed kills baby... Trees?... not so much!

Happy (and safe) trails...

http://www.bikesandtransit.com

There are kids playing, rightfully so most trails go through parks, unleashed dogs, other cyclists, chaotic pedestrians and roller bladers all in a 3m wide path... I have been attacked by a Canada Goose on a trail. Suggesting that there are no risks riding a trail is misleading. Yes you are not feeling the pressures from motorized traffic but there are just as many risks as on-street riding. I take my son on the trails but I guard with no less vigilance than when we ride on the street.

There are quite a few injuries every year on the trail. I have seen some pretty nasty ones. There are fatalities every couple of years, mostly people falling off their bikes. There was incident out in Mississauga a few years ago when a cyclists was blown off a very poorly designed trail to his death.

A few weeks from now my brother in-law's family of five will be visiting us from Montreal; both families have 3 kids 10 yrs old or under, and all are cyclists (to varying degrees).

The plans for the weekend include a trip to the AGO, and the question was raised, "could we all bike there?" To make a long story short, we will certainly not bike to the AGO from East York, instead we will use dedicated bike lanes to find our way to the Leslie Street Spit and back - not the first time.

The streets are suitable for mature and experienced riders. In contrast, the trails are a great way to develop young riders and make them more confident before they take to the road.

After a lifetime of riding on everything from road ways to mountain trails, I would have to say that there are more serious risks associated with road travel. I have crashed off of 8' drops and I have bounced off taxis, and given the choice I would take the trail crash over a vehicle collision anytime.

I cummute through city streets pretty much everyday, and have for the the past few years; my only two collisions occurred within 250 m on Yonge & Dundas (both were right hook taxis).

The funny thing is that I've had far more near-misses riding on the Martin Goodman Trail, particularly along Lakeshore from the DVP to Coxwell, than anywhere else in the city. It's a great path in a great place, which unfortunately can distract you from the fact that drivers routinely don't stop at stop signs or lights, and that everyone's already driving like they're on Lakeshore, which in turn makes people think they're on the 401.

I disagree. This map still has it's uses - even if nothing else, it reminds the viewer to remain highly alert at all times on the road. Consider the fact that when you're on the road, you don't know any of the stats of the cyclists or drivers around you. Decisions must be made accordingly. A map with no detailed info drives that home.

One more reason why bicyclists should stop supporting bike lanes, get their head out of the reservation mentality, and come out swinging. We're not going to stop at anything less than this: City Without Cars (CWOC) [See Walk]

David Ker Thomson's latest anti-democracy article is "Against Bike Lanes" at CounterPunch.

True, if you choose to ride your bike swiftly through a crowded trail through a crowded tourist zone, someone's going to get whacked - and everyday people do.

I have seen too many cyclists riding too fast when kids and beginners are around to shudder anymore. But if you want a nice ride with not too much of a crowd, try the outskirts of the city - by transit and bike.

Here's some photos from the Trans Canada Tail heading down Duffins Creek in Ajax. The photos are taken about one and three kilometres from the Ajax GO station parking lot. Looks pretty safe to me.

http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=68747&op=1&o=all&vie...

http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=68499&op=1&o=all&vie...

Bikes+Transit.com - Get right on it!

Donald,

I agree that trails are nice places to ride, but you seem to be looking at cycling from a purely recreational point of view.

The fact is that trails very rarely take us where we actually want to go. My commute to work is 20km each way, all on-road. (There is the Burnhamthorpe Trail in Mississauga for a short part of it, but it is very inconvenient to ride, having to stop and dismount at all intersections and dodge the turning motorists who don't stop at the stop signs. Very dangerous in some places too...but I digress...).

I suppose I could also ride down to the lake to extend the amount of trail riding I do, by riding on the Martin Goodman in Toronto and parts of the Waterfront Trail in Mississauga, but that would grow my commute to almost 30km. It would also make some of the inevitable road connections worse.

Downtown, there are no trail equivalents to Bloor St., Dundas St., Yonge St., etc..etc...

Conclusion: Yes, trails are great, and bikes+transit are great too... But the vast majority of practical cycling still takes place on roads. On-road cycling needs to be improved with better infrastructure, more education, etc.

I'm surprised it isn't higher around Lansdowne/Jameson- Queen. Motorists coming off the Gardiner hit pedestrians, mobility scooters and bikes with equal abandon.

I guess because of the slowness of the jig-jog, may of these don't get reported.

Absolutely. The majority of riding takes place for example in places like Queen to Bloor and Coxwell to Roncevalles.

It is ludicrous to ask bikers and especially e-assist disabled to burn themselves out by going all the way to the lakeshore and back up. Frankly, as an e-assist it eats up my batteries going back up all those hills thus limiting my ability to get places.

This isn't about fun riding. It's about safe, non-polluting affordable transportation.

We need proper cycle lanes that have curbs so cars will be less inclined to pull into the area and so we aren't turned into flying door prizes.

That way, we slow folks can putter along and the speedy folks have enough space to fast lane past us.

Okay, I can dream if I want to.

The problem with this idea is:

A) I bought a trike because I am sick of paying $5 a trip or $100 per month in transit. Why should I invest in an e-trike AND have to pay TTC too? I have a legal entitlement to half the lane and I intend to take it.

B) I didn't buy a trike to go "touring" I bought it to bring home groceries, go to the doctor more regularly, and do other activities including peddling when I can, to improve the quality of my life.

C) If I want to tool the waterfront I'll do so. It has nothing to do with my day-to-day reality.

D) I can't slug a 100lb trike onto the TTC anyway. It won't fit through most of the doors and forget stairways.

We have to stop being co-opted by this silliness of biking as a tourist activity. For most cyclists, it is their basic means of transportation and that needs to be respected and accounted for by this city.

Sports cycling is another story altogether.

Touchee!... but I match your "The fact is that trails very rarely take us where we actually want to go." with "The fact is that Toronto bike lanes very rarely take us where we actually want to go."

My belief is that through bikes and transit, and the tranquility of bike trails, we can get more of the moral majority (aka the voting public) out using existing infrastructure to enjoy their bikes. Much easier to start with "for recreational purposes" as the majority of folks reason that's why bought their bikes.

After a wonderful Sunday ride, the connection might be made that even if they wanted to, they couldn't find a safe way to work on a weekday. Then maybe they'll vote next time for the councillor who wants to get them to work and play safely, by bike, transit, trail or bike lane - whichever's most convenient.

To quote the great Frederick Mercury:

"I want to ride my bicycle... I want to ride it where I like."

I consider Bike Lanes and effective way of moving many cyclists along a busy area, and perhaps more so, as a safety enhancer for those who feel better that way.

Of course you can always direct the handlebars wherever you like to shorten your travel distance.

Either way, Bike Lanes play an important role in starting people moving on two wheels, and (if only by perception) keeping them that way.

Bike lanes make sense.

The problem is--there's no curbs to stop cars from jamming cyclists up, or stopping on the bike lanes and such.

Now, I have little problem with someone doing that if they have a handicapped sticker on the vehicle because that's an obvious situation.

What I do have a problem with is being shoved onto the sidewalk or into the curb by a motorist who just doesn't care.

To be effective, cycling lanes need to be along every major route so cyclists aren't forced to take out-of-the way routes, or be subjected to massive vehicular traffic everywhere else. If that was the case, I bet plenty of people would be happy to give up their gas guzzlers and cycle safely to work and errands.

This would take a massive overhaul of how Toronto sees itself. For some reasons, bikes are considered something teens courier on, or a handful of "annoying tree huggers" use to get to work.

Bikes aren't seen as valid mass transit.

That's the very perception we need to change.

Tried out this bike and transit thing. The toll collector told me that I was not allowed to bring my bike on the subway until after the morning rush. Pointed out that I could use the bike racks on buses but it might take me awhile to get where I was going. Walking would be faster.

Well, that's it then innit?

So much for TTC+bike.

Onwards to proper cycling improvements in Toronto!

I fully support Bike Lanes, and I think they make sense, but I spend less than 1/4 of my commute on them. I prefer to travel on streets that have fewer cars for safety and air quality, but there are times when a Bike Lane really makes for safe cycling - like on bridges and busy streets.

Curbs sound like a good idea, but they enclose the cyclist, and can actually contribute to collisions in intersections, where the curb terminates. They also require a lot of space and present obvious challenges for debris and snow removal.

Maybe one day Toronto will be ready to implement bike lanes on a grand scale, until then - Be Seen, Be Safe & Be Aware.

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