Modal share and bike accidents

Bicycle Mode Share and Accidents in TorontoBicycle Mode Share and Accidents in Toronto

This is a third look at the Bike Modal Share of Toronto. In this map I layered the Bike Accident map from Patrick Cain's Toronto Star blog on top of the Census 2006 bicycle modal share in Toronto. By graphically I mean that I just took the two images rotated them until they lined up and prettied them up. Not very sophisticated but the results speak for themselves.

We had reported before on the bike accident map, and Darren_S made the good point that it wasn't very useful without a reference point to traffic patterns:

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.

I believe that this map provides a bit more relevance. Even though downtown looks like a pretty dangerous place when taking accidents on their own, if we take into account the 10 to 20 fold difference in cycling commuting numbers it doesn't look all that bad.

What the map still doesn't tell us is what area is the most dangerous. For that we'd have to have access to the numbers and try to correlate on a finer scale the number of accidents to absolute number of bike commuters. I wonder if the City staff are working on it? You'd think it would be somewhat useful for finding out what areas to improve.

Comments

I just wanted to say that I really appreciate your work on these maps. Awesome.

There seems to be some good news in all of this. Relatively speaking, cycling is very "safe". If you want to get yourself killed, take a walk.

In addition, with all of the chest thumping that cyclists are in large part scofflaws there is no evidence to support it. Or maybe it is the effect of the quantum of harm involved, a car goes through a red light and does severe damage to others where a cyclist is most likely only to harm themselves.

What is frustrating is that a good number of collisions should have been prevented by having road space properly designed and/or enforcement. Most of the emphasis of where cycling facilities are being put is outside of where we see cyclists travel the most.

Facilities are needed everywhere. Earmarking those areas where ridership is lowest makes sense. For the most part these are the most cycling hostile roads in the city. Unfortunately these are also wards of the most anti-cycling councillors so getting infrastructure in place is an uphill battle.
Get the facilities in place and they will be used. As facilities are improved and linked ridership will rise.

Date: Thursday, April 16, 2009
Time: 6:30pm to 8:30pm
Location: Niagara Public School 222 Niagara Street (gymnasium in basement)

The Project
The City of Toronto is initiating a Class Environmental Assessment (EA) Study to determine the preferred option and preliminary design details for a pedestrian and cycle route/bridge over the railway corridor west of Fort York.

Background
The Fort York Pedestrian and Cycle Bridge is intended to provide a key link between Stanley Park to the north and the western area of Fort York grounds to the south, improving the connections between the City, Fort York and the waterfront.

This is important. Anyone that can make it tonight, please do so.

Many things are important, but the more pressing need I think is for better east-west links from Parkdale to the core, and I don't think this is so particularly important, though it may be helpful to get another way from the core over the railtracks to the Waterfront area when Strachan is trashed for a few years for the removal of the at-grade crossing, which has been over-warrants for perhaps as long as Mr. Pantalone has been the local Councillor.
With both these projects, we should be concerned not just with biking, but also such novel ideas as the Downtown Relief Line, and a Front St. Transitway (vs WWLRT) and ensuring that we actually leave room for transit in this infrastructure.
But returning to the maps, excellent images, and helpful to certain causes: thanks!

There are two different goals here, and are spelled out in the Bike Plan: reduce collisions and increasing cycling. I'd expect the way to make the biggest impact on reducing collisions might be in improving cycling facilities where most cyclists ride (or to be more precise where the highest number of cyclists are in collisions), which would likely be in central Toronto.

If you wanted to increasing cycling rates than perhaps the suburbs would be the best, where ridership is low. Or you want to identify the places where the potential is the greatest, however that is determined.

This was highly informative :) Many thanks to the poster

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