Vancouver Cyclists’ Safest City

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Vancouver is a city of 100,000 bike rides per day — higher than any other Canadian city — and these cyclists are also the safest, according to a recent report.

“There are more streets in Vancouver that have cycling lanes than in any of the other cities,” said Nithya Vijayakumar, senior advisor at the Pembina Institute and an author of the report, “and despite being the smallest area, there are also over 100,000 daily trips by bikes in Vancouver, which was higher than any of the other cities in the study,”

The study sought an understanding of how well cycling networks serve residents in each of the cities analyzed, as well as how each city is developing cycling resources.

Over the past several years, Vancouver has taken on the task of creating new bike lanes, despite the limited space available in the geographically small city, and the allocation of real estate and tax money for bike paths has been the topic of significant debate.

But, as Vijayakumar commented, Vancouver’s bike routes model is not really just one of separated lanes.

“I think that one of the most interesting things about the Vancouver network is the majority of their cycling infrastructure is actually just signed routes on residential streets that are shared with cars.”

For less busy routes, separate lanes were not always necessary, the researchers found.

“It’s all about finding the right fit for the environment.” commented Vijayakumar.

Of five major cities looked at in the study, Vancouver was seven times less dangerous than the city with the most bike crashes, Montreal.

For every 100,000 bike trips in Vancouver, there is one bike crash, the scientists found. Even the next safest city, Ottawa, was three times as dangerous.

By Andy Stern

The full report: “Cycle Cities