Ontario Coroner's Report On Bike Safety

Re: Review of Cycling Deaths in Ontario

We were pleased to hear that you will lead a review of cycling deaths in Ontario. We are a team of researchers in the fields of public health, emergency medicine, neurosurgery, law, engineering and transportation. We have been conducting a study of cycling injuries in Toronto and Vancouver, and believe that we may be able to contribute some useful insights for your review.

Much of the research on cycling injuries in North America has focused on helmets or the specific manoeuvres of cyclists and drivers. We chose to study the impact of transportation infrastructure on injuryrisk for the following reasons:

Cycling injury rates in North America are higher than in northern European countries where bicycle specific infrastructure is common, but use of helmets for commuter cycling is rare.

The relative safety of bicycle-specific infrastructure has been the subject of a great deal of debate, but insufficient evidence. As an example of one perspective, a California transportation engineer, John Forester, has advocated cycling on roads in vehicle lanes with cars as the safest mode of travel ("vehicular cycling").

North American transportation planning evolved, in part, in parallel with Forester's beliefs and this has resulted in less bicycle-specific infrastructure here than in northern European countries. We wanted to directly test whether routes with bicycle-specific infrastructure were safer or more dangerous than routes without such infrastructure.

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